la bienséance au théâtre

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Ricochets, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Ricochets

    Ricochets Member

    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    French - France
    Hi everyone!

    I'm wondering how I could translate "la règle de bienséance" to talk about theatre. It is one of the rules defined by Aristotle and concerning classical theatre. According to this rule, one can't show people dying or fighting on stage in order not to shock the audience. Any idea?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. valli Senior Member

    Paris -France
    French -France
    would it be able to talk about "decorum" ?
  3. Ricochets

    Ricochets Member

    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    French - France
    Thus, it would be "the rule of decorum"?
  4. Megeli7 New Member

    Bienseance is a theatrical term referring to what should be shown on scene. If the rule of bienseance is followed than the audience shouldn't see any violence, blood and gore, or physical gestures of love. Anything that could be chocking or offensive to the audience shouldn't be shown to follow this rule.
  5. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    Based on two prior posts:
    to observe the rule of propriety / to observe proprieties in the theatre / to observe proper decorum in the theatre
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I really think, in a context of literature, we would just say "bienséance" in English (with or without the accent). It's a technical rule of French classical drama, and there isn't an exactly-corresponding concept in English drama (think about some of Shakespeare's contemporaries), so we'd be likely just to use the French term - because we'd perforce be discussing French classical drama...
  7. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    I agree with lucas-sp. We kept the word bienseance in English in my French university studies somethingty years ago.

    This author likes the word "seemliness", which seems okay to me too.

    "French Theatrical Situation
    During this period the French theater was influenced profoundly by the famous neo-Aristotelian precepts for good literature. Playwrights observed with ever greater severity the famous "three unities" of time, place, and action, and the principles of verisimilitude and theatrical bienséance (seemliness)." (Source)

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