Synopses & Reviews
Four of the greatest French plays, in new translations
Here are four plays that continue to define French theater over three centuries after they were written. Corneilles Cinna (1641) explores absolute power in ancient Rome. Molières comedy The Misanthrope (1666) sees its antihero reject society for its hypocrisy. Racines Andromache (1667) recounts the tragedy of Hectors widow after the Trojan War, and his Phaedra (1677) shows a mother crossing the boundaries of love with her stepson. This edition features new verse translations undertaken with performance in mind, and a wealth of supplementary materials for students and actors.
Writing under the auspices of France's radical and omnipotent king, Louis XIV, Racine created settings that reflect all the auro and majesty of his Monarch's rule. But within this framework, he developed themes of ruthless and unrelenting tragedy.
About the Author
(16061684), often hailed as the father of French tragedy, made his name with the tragicomedy Le Cid
in 1637. His best-known works include Horace
Molière is the pen name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (16221673), one of the greatest French comedians. His numerous plays include Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, and LAvare.
Jean Racine (16391699) became known as one of the seventeenth centurys leading playwrights with the neoclassical tragedies Andromaque, Britannicus, and Phèdre.
John Edmunds is the founder-director of the department of theater, film, and television studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Joseph Harris is a senior lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London.