The medium is the message
Historical heroes in Flemish lyrical dramas of the nineteenth century (1830-1914)
Keywords:lyrical drama, nineteenth century, Flanders
This paper focuses on Flemish lyrical dramas of the nineteenth century with historical protagonists, both political figures and artists. It investigates how these lyrical dramas contributed to the discursive construction of a national, Belgian and a subnational, Flemish identity through the use (or manipulation) of the past, and how historical heroes were fit into nationalising strategies. Special attention is paid to the use of stereotypes and clich in characterising the historical protagonists, and to specific features of the lyrical dramas concerning style and content.
It is particularly interesting to investigate nationalising strategies and the functioning of historical heroes in those strategies in the genre of the lyrical drama, because of the broad and various audiences this popular genre reached, and because of its inherent interdisciplinary character. The integration of an oral art discipline (music) in a written (dramatic) text facilitates the transferal of a (nationalist) message and increases its impact. Furthermore, the genre of the lyrical drama has been notably understudied in scholarly research concerning Flemish music history and literary history of the nineteenth century.
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