News Release

Interactive publication explores French theater during the Enlightenment and Revolution

Innovative, open access volume opens new avenues of inquiry and broadens the nature of humanities scholarship

Book Announcement

The MIT Press

Databases, Revenues and Repertory

image: The new, bilingual digital publication harnesses data from the groundbreaking Comédie-Française Registers Project to open new avenues of inquiry into a crucial era in French theater history and broaden the nature of humanities scholarship. view more 

Credit: Image created by Laetitia Gendre

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- The MIT Press announced today the publication of Databases, Revenues and Repertory: The French Stage Online, 1680-1793 an innovative collection of original essays that explore an important initiative in the digital humanities, the Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP). This international online collaboration consists of high-resolution reproductions of the detailed daily box office receipts for the Comédie-Française theater troupe in Paris from 1680 to 1793, as well as visualization tools that allow users to explore the box office data.

Databases, Revenues and Repertory takes advantage of this unique online archive to explore programming decisions made by the royal troupe in Paris during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. How did politics, economics, and social conflict shape the troupe's repertory and impact its finances? Was the theater a space for critical discussion of public issues, or a place to seek escape from the uncertainties of the world outside the playhouse walls?

"Thanks to the MIT Press, we are very pleased to be able to offer this work in an exclusively online, open access, bilingual format," said Jeffrey S. Ravel, coeditor and Professor of History at MIT.

"The PubPub platform will allow readers to leave comments and observations, thereby creating an ongoing conversation among authors and readers," added coeditor Sylvaine Guyot, Professor of French Literature and Theater at Harvard University. "We see this style of enhanced exchange as essential to the future of humanities scholarship, which will increasingly engage audiences beyond the academy in conversations that bring the past, present, and future into dialogue with each other."

Contributors to the volume include:

  • Christian Biet, University of Paris Nanterre
  • Juliette Cherbuliez, University of Minnesota
  • Lauren R. Clay, Vanderbilt University
  • Logan J. Connors, University of Miami
  • Dan Edelstein, Stanford University
  • Pierre Frantz, Sorbonne University
  • Sylvaine Guyot, Harvard University
  • Sara Harvey, University of Victoria
  • Thomas M. Luckett, Portland State University
  • Anne E. C. McCants, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Derek Miller, Harvard University
  • Jeffrey N. Peters, University of Kentucky
  • Jeffrey S. Ravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Agathe Sanjuan, Bibliothèque-Musée de la Comédie-Française
  • François Velde, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • William Weber, California State University, Long Beach

Several essays in the volume explore the long-term trends in box office receipts and repertory decisions across the century, while others focus on the critical years around 1760 when the influence of enlightened ideals and authors made itself felt on the French capital's premier stage. Other contributions consider the uses of digital humanities methodologies in the study of French theater history and the humanities more generally.

Databases, Revenues and Repertory is freely available online, thanks to support from the MIT Press and a generous grant from the MIT Global Languages Section, as well as support from the MIT History Faculty. Funding from the FACE Foundation - Partner University Fund has made possible English and French-language versions of all the essays in the volume.


To learn more about this project, visit

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The MIT Press

About the MIT Press

Established in 1962, the MIT Press is one of the largest and most distinguished university presses in the world and a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, art, social science, and design. MIT Press books and journals are known for their intellectual daring, scholarly standards, interdisciplinary focus, and distinctive design.

About the MIT Global Languages Section

The MIT Global Languages Section's core mission is to educate MIT students in languages, cultures, and intercultural communication, with the broad aim of advancing their academic, career and personal goals. As MIT students pursue an expanding spectrum of international engagements, our classes and immersive international experiences help prepare them to live and work in the diverse and multilingual context of a globalizing world. Committed to excellence in teaching and pedagogical innovation, we embrace a vision of multilingual literacy founded not just on learning new words, but new worlds.

About the FACE Foundation - Partner University Fund

FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, FACE Foundation promotes artistic, literary and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries.

About PubPub

PubPub is an open-source publishing platform from the Knowledge Futures Group for collaboratively editing and publishing journals, monographs, and other open access scholarly content. The Knowledge Futures Group, a nonprofit originally founded as a partnership between the MIT Press and MIT Media Lab, builds and sustains technology for the production, curation, and preservation of knowledge in service of the public good.

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