Sedaine, Greuze and the boundaries of genre

Author: Mark Ledbury

Volume: 380

Series: SVEC

Publication Date: 2000

Pages: 417

ISBN: 978-0-7294-0703-8

Price: £75


This volume reinterprets the work of the dramatist Michel-Jean Sedaine and the artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze, in the context of their innovative engagement with discourses of genre in eighteenth-century France, and in the light of new archival evidence. It reveals the complexity and audacity of both men’s work, and restablishes the less well-known as a figure of major importance.
List of illustrations
Introduction: Sedaine and Greuze revisited
1. Hierarchy or opposition? Understanding genre in eighteenth-century France
2. The Salon and the Opéra-Comique
3. Savetier and philosophe: Sedaine’s career from 1756 to 1765
4. Le Fils ingrat? Greuze’s career from 1755 to 1763
5. Reproaching Greuze: Septime Sévère
6. Maillard, or Sedaine thwarted
7. From opéra-comique to melodrama: Sedaine and Greuze in the 1770s
8. ‘Vous y trouverez une famille’: Sedaine and David
Conclusion: ‘Murailles que séparez les genres’
Appendix I: ‘Notice sur la vie de Sedaine’
Appendix II: Hinkelmann ou Les Journalistes
Bibliography of works consulted


The French Review

Ledbury’s book makes delightful reading for anyone interested in eighteenth-century France. It holds some fascinating surprises, for example the relative conservatism of Diderot in his conceptions of genre, and the influence of both Sedaine and Greuze on that most classical of all artists, the painter Jacques-Louis David.

Voltaire Foundation

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