Phedre: Dual Language Edition

Front Cover
Penguin, 1991 - Drama - 180 pages
The myth of Phaedra is one of the most powerful and haunting in all of classical mythology. As dramatized by the French playwright Jean Racine (1639-1699), the dying queen's obsessive love for her stepson, Hippolytus, and the scrupulously upright Hippolytus's love for the forbidden beauty Aricia has come to be regarded as one of the great stories of tragic infatuation, the model for dozens of works about twisted family love.

Ted Hughes's "tough, unrhyming avalanche of a translation" (Paul Taylor, The Independent) replaces Racine's alexandrines with an English verse that serves eloquently to convey the protagonists' passions. The translation, performed to acclaim in London in 1998, will be staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1999, starring Diana Rigg. "We are still catching up with Ted Hughes's gift for narrative verse after his Tales from Ovid", one English critic observed after the premiere. "Little needs to happen on stage when there's a swirling action-packed disaster movie -- riddled with sex and violence -- in Hughes's free verse".

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BayardUS - LibraryThing

It is stated in the introduction to Phèdre that Racine did not intend to challenge any of the conventions to playwriting with this work, but merely write the strongest possible play while adhering to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nosajeel - LibraryThing

A Greek tragedy by Racine, a web of interlocking and tragic loves and misunderstandings propels this play from beginning to end. Although I enjoyed Andromache more, this was also a pleasure from ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

TRANSLATORS FOREWORD
9
CAST OF ENGLISH PRODUCTION
17
PREFACE
19
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
24
THE PLAY
25
NOTES
171
Copyright

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About the author (1991)

Jean Racine was born in 1639 at La Ferté Milon, sixty miles east of Paris. Orphaned at an early age, he was educated at the Little Schools of Port Royal and the pro-Jansenist College of Beauvais. He soon reacted against his austere mentors and by 1660 he had begun to write for the theater and had been introduced to the court of Louis XIV. In 1677, when he had ten plays to his credit and was high in favor with both the court and the public, he abandoned the theatre, which was regarded as far from respectable by the Church, and joined the Establishment as Royal Historiographer. It was only after a silence of twelve years that he wrote his last two plays (both on religious subjects), Esther and Athaliah. He died in 1699.
Margaret Rawlings, in private life Lady Barlow, is a distinguished English actress who is also a French scholar. She was born in Japan and educated at Oxford High School for Girls and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Miss Rawlings has been a professional actress since 1927 and has played many Shakespearean and Shavian heroines in addition to innumerable other important roles. In 1957 Campbell Allen produced in London a theatre-in-the-round version of Phèdre, and Miss Rawlings' performance in the title role was widely acclaimed by the critics.
Margaret Rawlings, in private life Lady Barlow, is a distinguished English actress who is also a French scholar. She was born in Japan and educated at Oxford High School for Girls and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Miss Rawlings has been a professional actress since 1927 and has played many Shakespearean and Shavian heroines in addition to innumerable other important roles. In 1957 Campbell Allen produced in London a theatre-in-the-round version of Phèdre, and Miss Rawlings' performance in the title role was widely acclaimed by the critics.

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