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  • Publication
    The displacement of disorder: gynæcocracy and friendship in Catherine Bernard’s Laodamie (1689)
    (Narr Franke Attempto, 2007)
    It should come as no surprise that the world of Catherine Bernard’s tragedies is one of disorder: theatre is after all, as d’Aubignac tells us, ‘[là] où règne le Démon de l’inquiétude, du trouble et du désordre’. Disorder is a characteristic of the genre; it is a state of affairs rectified by the dénouement , ensuring that the spectators depart, in the words of Corneille, ‘l’esprit en repos’. Bernard’s play Lao damie might appear at first glance, within the framework of a traditional patriarchal paradigm, to provide the perfect recipe for disorder: firstly the sovereign ruler is a woman, and secondly both she and her sister are in love with the same man. However, it soon becomes apparent that the focus of that disorder is displaced away from where we might expect to see it. The aim of this article is to analyse this displacement of disorder as it manifests itself in the inextricably linked public and private spher es. Such an analysis will enable us to evaluate the innovations central to this neglected, once highly successful, tragedy.