Serao in France: pleasuring women spectators with Après le pardon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Matilde Serao frequently attended opera, theatre and music performances, and documented her experiences in her publications, displaying an equal fascination with female spectators in attendance and their latest fashions and the action and/or performer on stage. During her lifetime, and for decades afterwards, many of her short stories and novels were adapted for the theatre and silent screen, some of which she adapted herself. Drawing on writings by women in French periodicals – for example, Le Figaro; Les annals politiques et littéraires; Le Temps; Le Journal amusant – in this chapter, I discuss the discursive and affective responses in particular among Paris’s female theatregoers to Serao’s adaptation with Pierre Décourcelle of her novel Dopo il perdono (1905) for the Théâtre Réjane in Paris in 1907. I argue that female French critics’ delight in reading and/or watching Serao’s sentimental realist novels/plays, and, subsequently, her film(s), was predicated on, and bound up with, her reputation as an international (albeit, firstly, Neapolitan, then Italian, then (by her own admission) “French” ) woman writer, and conscious spectator and fan of theatre and the new cinematic medium.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMatilde Serao
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Profile, Reception and Networks
EditorsGabriella Romani, Ursula Fanning, Katharine Mitchell
Place of PublicationParis
Number of pages13
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2021


  • Serao
  • pleasuring women spectators
  • French women writers
  • Après le pardon
  • Paris


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