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Jean Racine (1639–1699)

Author of Phaedra

Includes the names: Jean Racine, זאן ראסין
Also includes: Racine (1)

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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). (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Phaedra
… (more)
Phaedra 1,728 copies, 25 reviews
Andromache 595 copies, 7 reviews
Britannicus 335 copies, 6 reviews
Bérénice 238 copies, 6 reviews
Iphigénie 161 copies, 3 reviews
Athaliah 133 copies, 5 reviews
Théâtre complet 129 copies, 1 review
Bajazet 79 copies, 3 reviews
The Classic Theatre; Volume IV: Six French Plays (Contributor) 75 copies, 1 review
The Suitors 65 copies, 3 reviews
Esther 56 copies, 1 review
2 Plays: Andromache / Phaedra 49 copies, 1 review
Mithridate (Author) 35 copies, 2 reviews
Theatre II (French Edition) (Author) 23 copies
Fransk klassisk drama 16 copies, 1 review
Racine, Andromaque 7 copies, 1 review
Teatro 5 copies
Classical French theatre (Contributor) 4 copies
Les plaideurs 3 copies
Port-Royal 3 copies
FEDRA Y OTRAS TRAGEDIAS 3 copies, 1 review
Cid * Phaedra 2 copies
Procederen 1 copy
Zbój 1 copy
Ph©·dre 1 copy
פדרה 1 copy
Theatre II 1 copy
Theatre I 1 copy
Cantique 1 copy
Œuvres 1 copy
Thatre 1 copy
Ouvres 1 copy
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Jean Racine (1639-1699) est un dramaturge, poète et tragédien classique français majeur.
Il naît le 22 décembre 1639 à la Ferté-Milon en Picardie dans une famille de moyenne bourgeoisie. Il perd sa mère à l'âge de deux ans et son père à quatre ans.. Il étudie, à partir de 1649 à Port-Royal-des-Champs puis fait un passage au collège de Beauvais, haut lieu du jansénisme, à Paris et retourne aux Granges de Port-Royal-des-Champs pour l’année de rhétorique. Il est en classe de philosophie au collège d’Harcourt, à Paris en 1658.
Il débute dans l'écriture avec La Thébaïde en 1664, joué par la troupe de Molière, poursuit et connaît un triomphe avec Andromaque en 1667. Cette réussite en fait l'égal et le rival de Corneille tant auprès du public que de Louis XIV qui en fait un favori majeur. Dès lors, sa promotion sociale et économique est assurée. Il est élu à l'Académie française en 1672, anobli en 1674 et atteint la gloire avec Phèdre en 1677.
Devenu courtisan du roi, Racine délaisse alors la Poésie. Suivent ainsi des tragédies commandées notamment par Mme de Maintenon, des historiographies, cantiques et oeuvres dramatiques plus tournées vers la morale austère du jansénisme.
Il meurt le 21 avril 1699 à Paris et est inhumé à Port-Royal-des-Champs. Après la destruction de l’abbaye en 1711, ses cendres sont transférées à l’église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, à Paris.

La critique et la postérité consacre au cours des siècles Racine, avec Molière et Corneille, comme dramaturge majeur des Lettres classiques françaises. Universellement reconnu dans le domaine de la littérature, il est et reste l'un des auteurs les plus joués.
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