The Geography of Spectacle in Corneille's L'Illusion comique

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1 Scopus citations


In L'Illusion comique (1635) Corneille draws upon concepts of location and placing to dramatize the emergence of a new and, to modern readers, recognizable poetic style. Early in the play, the famous cave in which the magician Alcandre stages his 'spectres' serves to distinguish narrative from spectacle, word from image, with the ostensible purpose of giving preference to the latter. What ensues during the play, however, is a gradual blurring of the verbal and the visual. From within the apparent gap separating word and image comes a new kind of specifically verbal image, situated on stage and housed in the confining 'place' of the dramatic poem. The play therefore constitutes an important historical development in the early modern discussion of Aristotelian principles of vivid speech whereby the world is made both present and near.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
Number of pages15
JournalSeventeenth-Century French Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Becoming
  • Corneille
  • Enargeia
  • Geography
  • Image
  • Location
  • Space
  • Theater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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