Le monde des spectacles dans la ville du futur: comment s’évader d’une société positiviste?


In his two main futuristic novels, Le Vingtième Siècle (1883) and La Vie électrique (1890), Albert Robida presents a dystopian society ruled by individualism, industrialism, and the search for profit. In this technological world, positivist values seem to reign while humanities appear as largely despised. Through the means of anticipation, Robida gives an acute satire of his historical moment. The present article considers the central importance of spectacles in Robida’s futuristic society: both their ideological function and their eventual use by future citizens as a means of evasion, a means to experience the freedom of aesthetic pleasure. Thanks to the “téléphonoscope,” plays, operas, concerts and ballets enter each citizen’s daily life, but a closer look at the plays’ aesthetics and their industrialist production shows that they are very much a part of this consumer society. Far from providing an escape, futuristic spectacles are truly incarnations of society’s values. The logic of spectacularization and advertising thus extends to the whole society, mirroring the situation of the writer himself. (In French)

Claire Barel-Moisan
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