JUST PUBLISHED: Databases, Revenues, & Repertory: The French Stage Online, 1680-1793 // Données, recettes & répertoire. La scène en ligne (1680-1793)

October 20, 2020


Dear Colleagues,  

We are delighted to announced the online, open access publication of our bilingual volume, Databases, Revenues, & Repertory: The French Stage Online, 1680-1793 Données, recettes & répertoire. La scène en ligne (1680-1793)edited by Sylvaine Guyot and Jeffrey S. Ravel (MIT Press, 2020).

This work is an innovative collection of original essays that explore an important initiative in the digital humanities, the Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP). Databases, Revenues, & Repertory takes advantage of this unique online archive to explore programming and pricing decisions made by the royal troupe in Paris during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, while assessing the research possibilities created by digital methodologies in humanities scholarship. 

How did politics, economics, and social conflict shape the troupe’s repertory and affect its finances? Was the theater a space for critical discussion of public issues, or a place to seek escape from the uncertainties of the world? Several essays in the volume explore the long-term trends in box office receipts and repertory decisions across the century, while others focus on the critical years around 1760, when the influence of Enlightenment ideals and authors made itself felt on the French capital’s premier stage. A third set of essays considers the uses of digital humanities methodologies in the study of theater history and in the humanities more generally—how new are the research procedures and conclusions of digital humanists, how do these applications reshape the questions we ask of literature and cultural history, and how do they expand our sensory understanding of the past? 

Sylvaine Guyot, Harvard University 

Jeffrey S. Ravel, MIT 




Table of Contents 

In Memoriam Christian Biet, 1952-2020


  • Sylvaine Guyot and Jeffrey S. Ravel, “Digital Technology and Theater History” 


I - Interpreting Data, Visualizations, and Sound


  • Jeffrey S. Ravel, “The Comédie-Française by the Numbers, 1752-2020” 
  • Jeffrey Peters, “Looking at the Literary: Data-Driven Visualizations and the Comédie-Française Registers Project” 
  • Juliette Cherbuliez, “The Sound of Theater: Crowds, Acoustics, Oration” 
  • Dan Edelstein, “Comment – Back to the Future" 


II - Eighteenth-Century Repertory and Revenues


  • William Weber, “The Parallel Canons at the Opéra and the Comédie-Française at the End of the Old Regime” 
  • François Velde, “An Analysis of Revenues at the Comédie-Française, 1680-1793” 
  • Derek Miller, “Comment – Defining Repertory” 
  • Anne E.C. McCants, “Comment – Money, Prices, and Accounting for Taste: Theater Economics as Revealed by the Comédie-Française Registers Project” 


III - Circa 1760


  • Thomas M. Luckett, “Financial Difficulties and Business Strategies at the Comédie-Française During the Seven Years War” 
  • Pierre Frantz, “The Voltaire Moment” 
  • Lauren R. Clay, “The Strange Career of Voltaire, Bestselling Playwright of Eighteenth-Century France” 
  • Logan J. Connors, “Comment – Celebrating Voltaire in the 1760s” 



  • Christian Biet, Sara Harvey, and Agathe Sanjuan, “The CFRP, from Archaeology to Futurology”