Britannicus, Phaedra, Athaliah

ISBN-10: 0199555990

ISBN-13: 9780199555994

Edition: N/A

List price: $9.99
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Description:

Jean Racine (1639-99) remains to this day the greatest of French poetic dramatists. Britannicus (1669), the first play in this volume, takes its themes from Roman history: the setting is bloody and treacherous court of the Emperor Nero. Phaedra (1677) dramatizes the Greek myth of Phaedra's doomed love for her stepson Hippolytus. Athaliah (1691), Racine's last and perhaps finest play, draws on the Old Testament story of Athaliah, Queen of Judah and worshipper of Baal, who isthreatened and finally forced to concede victory to Joash, a son of the house of David and survivor of Athaliah's massacres.Racine's tragedies portray characters wrestling with ambition, treachery, religion, and love. In this translation, specially commissioned for The World's Classics series, C.H. Sisson has captured admirably the lucidity of Racine's language, both analytic and passionate, and the rhythm of his four-part Alexandrine, a combination that previous translators have consistently failed to achieve.
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Book details

List price: $9.99
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 4/23/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.396
Language: English

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).

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