Jean-Georges Noverre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1795-1810)

In 1795, Jean-Georges Noverre, who had been living in Great Britainfor 12 years, first in London, then in Norwich, came back to France, his native country, which he had seldom visited during that period. In 1756, he went to Londonand made friends with David Garrick, the famous Shakespearian actor, director and owner of Drury Lanetheatre. Afterwards, he left to work in court circles in Stuttgartand Vienna.

The author intends to develop the following points, some of which have been obscure or unanswered until now, and which are amply illustrated by documents found in the Archives of the area:

  1. Why Noverre came to France, one year after the fall of Robespierre in July 1794 (Thermidor an III) and the end of the Terror.
  2. Why he chose Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a small, dull city in the department of Seine-et-Oise, which still pined for Louis XIV and his court in the old château before the king left for Versaillesin 1782. Louis XIV welcomed James Stuart II in Saint-Germain from 1789 to 1701, which restored the splendor of the city only temporarily.
  3. The difficulties he met with when he arrived in the city where hunger and poverty were rampant, where Royalists and Republicans fought each other, where official buildings were sold as national possessions.
  4. The whereabouts of Noverre and his wife have now been clearly located.
  5. His activities in the royal city : he was acquainted with famous people , Madame Campan and her students’parents ; was a close friend of the mayor under the Consulat but he also went to Paristo meet former colleagues and attend a few theatre or ballet performances.
  6. His writings in Saint-Germain as in 1803 he added several new chapters to his well-known “Traité sur la Danse”, first published in 1760.
  7. His death, funeral and legacy.
Alain Borderie
Symposium Title: 
Celebrating Jean-Georges Noverre 1727-1810: his world, and beyond – 2010
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