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Dancing into the Spotlight: Louise Bertin and La Esmeralda

Juliana Starr, University of New Orleans

Abstract

The field of musicology lags far behind literature and the visual arts in the study of its women practitioners. Indeed, it has been nearly forty years since art historian Linda Nochlin published her ground-breaking study, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" with its remarkable parallel implications for women composers. This essay attempts to address this question by studying the life and work of Louise-Angelique Bertin--the only composer to collaborate directly with Victor Hugo on an opera, the earliest French composer to write an opera based on Goethe's Faust, an artist in the middle of the biggest political and aesthetic controversies of her time -- in short, a composer who would warrant study even without reference to the question of her gender.

Suggested Citation

Starr, Juliana. "Dancing into the Spotlight: Louise Bertin and La Esmeralda." Women in French Studies (2009): 64-73.