Racine, Jean

(1639-1699)
   dramatist
   Considered the greatest writer of French classical tragedy, Jean Racine was born in La Ferté-Milon, the son of a tax official. orphaned at an early age, he was raised and educated at the Jansenist convent of Port-Royal, where his aunt was a nun. Rigorously moralistic and intellectual, Racine accepted Jansenism as one of the strongest influences in his life, but he was also influenced by the Greek (Sophocles, Euripides) and later classics that he had studied and could read fluently. Failing to gain an ecclesiastical benefice in the provinces, Racine returned to Paris (1663) and became friends with important literary figures, including jean de la fontaine. In 1664, he produced his first play, Thébaïde, followed by Alexandre (1665), and began a decade-long period that was the most productive of his career, with Andromaque (1667), Les Plaideurs (1668), Britannicus (1669), Bérénice (1670), Bajazet (1672), Mithridate (1673), Iphigénie (1674), and Phèdre (1677). After Alexandre, all his works were produced by the company of players of the Hôtel de Bourgogne and, with Andromaque, Racine replaced pierre corneille as the favorite of the young king louis XIV and his court. Very much a figure of the court himself, Racine had several noted liaisons with actresses and was known for a stormy, tormented, and jealous nature. Except for his one comedy, Les Plaideurs, a satire on the Parisian language of his day, all of Racine's works deal with the heroic figures of antiquity, with their words and emotions adapted to 17th-century France. At the request of Mme de maintenon, Racine wrote his last dramatic works, the biblical tragedies Ester (1689) and Athalie (1691), for the young girls at her school at saint-cyr. In 1672, at the height of his success, Racine was elected to the Académie Française and devoted most of his time to writing official history, including Louis XlV's military campaigns. He also wrote religious works, Cantiques spirituels (1694) and a history, Abrégé de l'histoire de Port-Royal (posthumous, 1767). Regarded as the supreme exponent of French classical poetry in rhymed Alexandrian verse, his most famous tragedies became integral to the repertory of the comédie-française, and the interpretations of his characters have been standard tests for French actors. Although Racine's dramas are based on intense human passions, they follow a strict neoclassical formality, with restrained actions and emotions.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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  • RACINE, JEAN° — (1639–1699), French tragic dramatist. Racine s reputation rests on nine tragedies in Alexandrine verse written between 1667 and 1691. There is no record of his having any personal knowledge of Jews, but the heroine s speech in Esther (1689) makes …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Racine, Jean de — Racine, Jean de, der französische Euripides, sowohl in Auffassung und Darstellung der Charaktere, als in der sanften Süßigkeit und dem duftigen Schmelz der Sprache, der über seine besten Dichtungen ausgegossen ist. Schon in frühester Jugend hegte …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Racine, Jean — • Brief biography of the seventeenth century dramatist Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Racine, Jean — ▪ French dramatist Introduction in full  Jean baptiste Racine  baptized December 22, 1639, La Ferté Milon, France died April 21, 1699, Paris  French dramatic poet and historiographer renowned for his mastery of French classical tragedy. His… …   Universalium

  • RACINE, JEAN —    great French tragic poet, born at La Ferté Milon, in the dep. of Aisne; was educated at Beauvais and the Port Royal; in 1663 settled in Paris, gained the favour of Louis XIV. and the friendship of Boileau, La Fontaine, and Molière, though he… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Racine, Jean — ► (1639 99) Poeta trágico francés. Fue protegido de Luis XIV. Alexandre le Grand fue, en 1665, su primer gran éxito. Fue miembro de la Academia Francesa en 1673. Sus tragedias son de gran intensidad dramática, por el acertado y veraz juego de las …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Racine, Jean (-Baptiste) — (baptized Dec. 22, 1639, La Ferté Milon, France died April 21, 1699, Paris) French playwright. Orphaned at an early age, he was educated in a Jansenist convent, and he chose drama in defiance of his upbringing. His first play was produced by… …   Universalium

  • Racine, Jean (-Baptiste) — (bautizado 22 dic. 1639, La Ferté Milon, Francia–21 abr. 1699, París). Dramaturgo francés. Huérfano a temprana edad, se educó en un convento jansenista. Posteriormente escogió la dramaturgia como una expresión de rebeldía ante su educación. Su… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Racine,Jean Baptiste — Ra·cine (rə sēnʹ, rä ), Jean Baptiste. 1639 1699. French playwright. The greatest tragedian of the French classical period, he based his works, such as Britannicus (1669) and Phèdre (1677), on classical Greek and Roman themes. * * * …   Universalium

  • Jean Racine — (IPA fr|ʒɑ̃ ʁaˈsin) (December 22, 1639 ndash; April 21, 1699) was a French dramatist, one of the big three of 17th century France (along with Molière and Corneille), and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition. Racine… …   Wikipedia

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