Iphigenia, Phaedra and Athaliah

ISBN-10: 0140441220
ISBN-13: 9780140441222
Edition: 1970
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Description: Strongly influenced by Classical drama, Jean Racine (1639 - 99) broke away from grandiose baroque theatricality to create works of intense psychological realism, with characters manipulated by cruel and vengeful gods. Iphigenia depicts a princess's  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.00
Copyright year: 1970
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/28/1964
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.440

Strongly influenced by Classical drama, Jean Racine (1639 - 99) broke away from grandiose baroque theatricality to create works of intense psychological realism, with characters manipulated by cruel and vengeful gods. Iphigenia depicts a princess's absolute submission to her father's will, despite his determination to sacrifice her to gain divine favour before going the war. Described by Voltaire as 'the masterpiece of the human mind', Phaedra shows a woman's struggle to conquer her overwhelming passion for her stepson - an obsession that brings destruction to a noble family. And Athaliah portrays a ruthless pagan queen, who defies Jehovah in her desperate attempt to keep the throne of Jerusalem from its legitimate heir.

Jean Racine is considered the greatest of French tragic dramatists. If Shakespeare's (see Vol. 1) theater is characterized by exploration and invention, Racine's is defined by restraint and formal perfection. His themes are derived from Greco-Roman, biblical, and oriental sources and are developed in the neoclassic manner: keeping to few characters, observing the "three unities" defined by Aristotle (see Vols. 3, 4, and 5) as essential to tragedy (i. e., unity of time, place, and action), and writing in regular 12-syllable verses called "alexandrines." In contrast to Corneille, whose theater is eminently political and concerned with moral choices, Racine locates tragic intrigue in the conflict of inner emotions. He is a master at exploring the power of erotic passion to transform and pervert the human psyche. As a Jansenist who believed that a person deprived of grace was subject to the tyranny of instincts, Racine was interested in portraying human passions---particularly the passion of love---in a state of crisis. Racine is also one of the greatest of all French poets, and his plays are a challenge to any translator. His major tragedies include Andromaque (1667), Britannicus (1669), e Berenice (1670), Iphigenie (1674), and Phedre (1677).

Jean Racine
Note on the terms 'Romanesque' and 'Baroque'
List of Racine's plays
Iphigenia
Phaedra
Athaliah

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