*CANCELLED* Lessons on a Literary Rivalry
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.