Revolution #2: Olympe de Gouges’ Fight Against Slavery

Attribution: Alexander Kucharsky, Portrait of Olympe de Gouges, late 18th century

 

 

“I rebel; therefore I exist.”

–          Albert Camus

 

 

 

 

This quote is particularly true for Olympe de Gouges. Born in 1748 in the South of France, Gouges came to live in Paris in the early 1770s. She was well assimilated in the society of the Old Regime and was friend with many men of letters. She started to write in the early 1780s, first with the play Zamore et Mirza, ou L’heureux naufrage, (Zamore and Mirza, or The Fortunate Shipwreck) the story of a slave couple, Zamore and Mirza, who become outlaws and are saved and helped by a French couple. The play has a happy ending, with the slaves being forgiven and freed by their former master. Gouges consequently became a prolific writer: she wrote fifteen plays (that we know of), a novel, a few essays and, from 1788 to 1793, around fifty political Continue reading

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Research Diaries #2: My Thesis on Stage: Authentic Representation of Northern Ireland in Jez Butterworth’s ‘The Ferryman’

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my PhD research, which focuses on Irish poetry, is the time I spend catching up on contemporary literature and culture which takes Ireland as its subject matter. A particularly striking recent example has been Jez Butterworth’s critically acclaimed new play The Ferryman, which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre before transferring to the West End. The play, which revolves around a Catholic farming family in rural Armagh, takes the Northern Irish Troubles as its theme. Loosely based on the experience of one of its original lead actresses, Laura Donnelly, whose uncle was Continue reading