The University of Warwick's Marandet collection of 18th- and 19th-century French plays is a unique resource and one of the most significant collections of its kind in the country. There are over 2000 plays from the period 1700-1830 and a similar number from the period 1830-1900. Most of the plays were acquired originally by a 19th-century French collector, Amédée Marandet, who was himself an actor and playwright. Many of the works and their authors have now been forgotten but the collection is extremely rich in popular drama of the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1979, Jean Emelina and Peter Larkin produced a Guide to the Marandet Collection of French Plays 1700-1830 held in the University of Warwick Library. This bibliographical introduction to the collection can be consulted as a pdf file here.
Online plays from the French Revolution
In 2005-06, 301 plays from the French Revolutionary decade (1789-99) were digitised. These plays are freely available to the public and scholars alike and are fully key-word searchable, making them an extremely valuable resource.
The database allows users to search by playwright, title and keywords. Or you can browse all 301 plays in this Revolutionary drama section.
Online plays from the Napoleonic period
In 2006-07 and 2007-08, a generous grant from the University's Education Innovation Fund enabled students to be involved in the process of selecting and digitally preserving plays from the period 1799-1815. Those who wished then had the opportunity of producing original research based on ‘their’ plays.
More information on the teaching project which was a collaborative undertaking between the Library and Dr Katherine Astbury in the Department of French Studies can be found in Astbury, K. (2006)French Theatre of the First Empire: Enhancing Research-Based Learning. Warwick Interactions Journal 28. Accessed online at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/ldc/resource/interactions/archive/issue28/abastbury
An assessment of the project has been published by John MacColl, European Director, RLG Programs, OCLC Programs & Research at St Andrews University Library on his blog under the heading A role for 'libraries of the future' in the UK: digitisation via research-based learning, posted 22 April 2008.
There are currently 65 plays digitised for the Napoleonic period.
In 2008-09, the Library had a significant award from the JISC digitisation programme to extend the digitisation of the Marandet collection to include a further 1500 plays dating from 1703 to 1830. The project to continue to improve access and raise the profile of the collection continues.
Marandet Matters is an online journal publishing original research by undergraduate students working on plays in the Marandet collection. The issues can be consulted here.
If you have any queries or would like to find out more, please contact Katherine Astbury in the French Department, or Kate Williams or Ed Kirkland n the Library.
For an interview with Dr Katherine Astbury about the Marandet collection click here.
For a video introduction to the collection click here.
Enter the database of digitised plays directly here.
Information about performance dates, reception, actors relating to the plays from the Revolutionary period can be found on the CESAR website here.