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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The French Romantic artist often has to define his place and his function in society in ways external to the essence of his work or to the aesthetic domain: he has to assume a mask. This conflict between the artist of genius or the exceptional individual and his time is explored in multifarious ways in Romantic texts. Strategically, drama was of crucial importance for the Romantics, not least because it was the last stronghold of neo-classicism; the stage was the field in which the battle between the ‘Classicists’ and the ‘Romantics’ was fought at its fiercest. The underlying idea of the plays discussed in the chapter is the internal conflict between the ‘authentic’, ‘pure’, ‘innocent’ self of the artist (the genius) and the ‘mask’ he has to assume in order to survive in a materialistic society and in the literary marketplace.

Keywords: Genius, drama, mask, market, neo-classicism, authenticity

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