Le cours de l’action sociale: Jean Charles-Brun et le théâtre

Jean Charles-Brun (1870–1946), best known as a regionalist activist, became interested in the theater early on: it was certainly from there that he consolidated his discourse on the relationship between art and society. Years before the courses on the social novel in nineteenth-century France that he gave at the Collège libre des sciences sociales, Charles-Brun had delivered several lectures on social theater in the same institution (1898–99, 1908–09). These lectures were never published, but traces of them remain in an unpublished notebook kept in the archives of the MuCEM in Marseille. The genetic study of this document does not make it possible to determine the specific content of the lectures. But, by placing the references it mobilizes in the ideological context of the day, and by reading these references in relation to the speaker’s social networks, we can glimpse the difficulties involved in defending “social theater,” such as it was promoted, in particular, by the movement of the “Universités populaires,” before a largely bourgeois, even “mondain” public. (In French.)

Sarah Al-Matary
Université Lyon 2; Institut universitaire de France