Includes the plays Britannicus, Phedra and Berenice
Jean Racine is the greatest tragedian of the French seventeenth century, using its strict rules and conventions to tell stories of overwhelming passion and cruelty.
This volume brings together three of his greatest plays. Britannicus, the earliest, is set in the court of the young Emperor Nero, and in an atmosphere seething with erotic tension, documents the power-struggles surrounding the birth of a legendary despot. Berenice probes the hearts of two lovers as they are torn apart amidst the splendours of Imperial Rome, and in Phedra, the most famous of the three, a woman betrayed by her own desires descends into a personal hell of shame, guilt and remorse.
These classic versions, by two of the country's most distinguished director-translators, prove that Racine is far from untranslatable; they offer blisteringly effective poetry, urgent plotting and powerhouse roles for both actors and actresses.
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