Redistributed Bodiliness : The Reception of French Fable Comedies in Eighteenth-Century Scandinavia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The chapter traces the eighteenth-century reception in Scandinavia of Edme Boursault’s fable comedy Esope (1690). After some initial difficulties, Boursault’s play, innovatively combining the popular genres of fable and comedy, scored a success at the Comédie Française and was also staged abroad. The fable comedy in 1722 reached the playhouse in Copenhagen in a Danish translation, entitled Aesopus and based on the English adaptation. Aesopus was, however, performed only once. Moreover, the fables were subsequently broken loose from the comedy and published separately. The paper discusses the abortive Danish reaction to the fable comedy in terms of a redistribution of the double function of utile dulci. Since the fables in Boursault’s theatrical invention were assigned primarily the function of moral usefulness, they had – in order to regain their full pleasure value and their full corporeality – to be liberated from the dramatic whole. Thus interpreted, the Danish reception reflects the basic instability of the French genre fusion.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Literatures


  • fable, comedy, Edme Boursault, genre fusion, reception, Scandinavia
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKosmopolitismus und Körperlichkeit im europäischen Theater des 18. Jahrhunderts
EditorsKatharina Müller, Stephan Michael Schröder
PublisherHerbert Utz Verlag
ISBN (Print)978-3-8316-4428-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch