Théâtre et thérapie de la maladie mentale (France, 1790–1815)
The theatrical experience conducted by the Marquis de Sade (1803–1814) with the lunatics of the Charenton asylum is a known fact. This practice, which was considered scandalous though it attracted the “Tout-Paris”, was supposedly part of the so-called “moral treatment” initiated by the alienist-physician Philippe Pinel, founder of modern psychiatry in France. The transition period from the French Revolution to the Empire and the Restoration was, indeed, a time of many transformations in the treatment of mental illness. In its relation to mental illness, theatre may serve as a yardstick for measuring power issues related to divergent conceptions of man and his freedom. But this moment of history, observed through the prism of the problematic of theatre/mental illness, also makes it possible to question our constantly changing approaches to the French Revolution.