The Limits of Cultural Imperialism: French Theatre in Napoleonic Europe

Imperialism and National Culture
By Philippe Bourdin

Bonaparte, as First Consul then as Emperor, made the national theatre one of the components of French domination in the foreign territories that he conquered, annexed or associated with the Empire. The prefects were made responsible for establishing or developing the national theatre. They measured the weight of the cultural prerogatives and legacies of oligarchies, the impact of linguistic and artistic traditions (particularly in Italy), and the limitations of translations and adaptations. As in France, they also had to account for the diversity of audiences and their reactions.

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