Representing the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Literature and Film

Events — Public Lecture ZOOM
8 December 2021, 18:30

Zoom Talk by Professor Rowland Wymer: The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 was the single most notorious episode in the French Wars of Religion (1562-1629). I will look at some of the ways it has been represented in plays, poems, novels, films, and television, beginning with early works such as Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris (1593) and the epic poem Les Tragiques, written between 1577 and 1616 by the Huguenot military leader Agrippa d’Aubigné. After briefly considering two plays,

Nathaniel Lee’s The Massacre of Paris (1681) and Elizabeth Inchbald’s The Massacre (1792), I will look at D. W. Griffith’s film Intolerance (1916) and the Doctor Who four-part story ‘The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve’ (1966). I will conclude with a longer discussion of the Alexander Dumas novel La Reine Margot (1845) and the very impressive 1994 film adaptation of it by Patrice Chereau. It will become clear that the impulse to represent the Massacre usually arises from a desire to address more contemporary political crises, particularly those involving ethno-religious hatred and mob violence.

Frances Dubois paining.
Frances Dubois paining.

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