image of Hélène E. Bilis standing in a garden, looking at the camera, and smiling

*CANCELLED* Lessons on a Literary Rivalry

Lessons on a Literary Rivalry: Corneille and Racine, Dueling Playwrights, A Presentation by Newhouse Fellow Hélène Bilis
Apr 21, 4:30–6 PM
Newhouse Center for the Humanities
Free and open to the public

Newhouse Fellow Hélène E. Bilis analyzes the literary and cultural phenomenon of doublons: dueling plays on the same subject, by different playwrights, presented on two Parisian stages on nearly the same dates.

In 1670, Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine squared off with Tite et Bérénice vs. Bérénice. France’s foremost playwrights battled for box office receipts, public esteem, artistic superiority, and overall bragging rights. In highlighting their dramatic duel, Bilis asks what can be learned about the creative process when it occurs in such an outwardly competitive context and explores how subsequent accounts of the doublon complicate traditional notions of authorship, biography, influence, and literary prestige.

Hélène E. Bilis is an associate professor of French at Wellesley College. She is a 2019-2020 faculty fellow at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities.