29 Facts About Jean Racine


Jean-Baptiste Racine was a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Moliere and Corneille as well as an important literary figure in the Western tradition and world literature.


Jean Racine did write one comedy, Les Plaideurs, and a muted tragedy, Esther for the young.


Jean Racine's plays displayed his mastery of the dodecasyllabic French alexandrine.


Jean Racine's writing is renowned for its elegance, purity, speed, and fury, and for what American poet Robert Lowell described as a "diamond-edge", and the "glory of its hard, electric rage".


Jean Racine's dramaturgy is marked by his psychological insight, the prevailing passion of his characters, and the nakedness of both plot and stage.


Jean Racine received a classical education at the Petites ecoles de Port-Royal, a religious institution which would greatly influence other contemporary figures including Blaise Pascal.


Jean Racine was expected to study law at the College d'Harcourt in Paris, but instead found himself drawn to a more artistic lifestyle.


Jean Racine eventually took up residence in Paris where he became involved in theatrical circles.


Jean Racine got married at about this time to the pious Catherine de Romanet, and his religious beliefs and devotion to the Jansenist sect were revived.


Around the time of his marriage and departure from the theatre, Jean Racine accepted a position as a royal historiographer in the court of King Louis XIV, alongside his friend Boileau.


Jean Racine kept this position in spite of the minor scandals he was involved in.


Jean Racine requested burial in Port-Royal, but after Louis XIV had this site razed in 1710, his remains were moved to the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont church in Paris.


The quality of Jean Racine's poetry is perhaps his greatest contribution to French literature.


Jean Racine's response was that the greatest tragedy does not necessarily consist in bloodshed and death.


Greek tragedy, from which Jean Racine borrowed so plentifully, tended to assume that humanity was under the control of gods indifferent to its sufferings and aspirations.


Jean Racine is often said to have been deeply influenced by the Jansenist sense of fatalism.


Jean Racine's love is not founded upon esteem of the beloved and a concern for his happiness and welfare, but is essentially selfish.


Jean Racine is a much less colourful character than his opposite number.


Jean Racine observes the dramatic unities more closely than the Greek tragedians had done.


Jean Racine merely says that this limitation was often practised by writers of tragedy, but he well knew that there were many plays in which no such limitation existed.


Unlike his rival, who crams into his plays "quantite d'incidents qui ne se pourraient passer qu'en un mois", Jean Racine describes fluctuating states of mind which, in the rapidly mounting tension, are brought abruptly to a crisis from which there is no retreat.


Jean Racine, determined to avoid the miraculous, borrows from a minor Greek writer, the geographer Pausanias, the character of Eriphile.


In creating Andromaque, Jean Racine believes he must "[se] conformer a l'idee que nous avons maintenant de cette princesse".


Jean Racine's works have evoked in audiences and critics a wide range of responses, ranging from reverence to revulsion.


Butler blames the consequential "withering" of French drama on Jean Racine's idolized image, saying that such rigid adherence to one model eventually made all new French drama a stale imitation.


Jean Racine came to be dismissed as merely "an historical document" that painted a picture only of 17th century French society and nothing else; there could be nothing new to say about him.


At present, Jean Racine is still widely considered a literary genius of revolutionary proportions.


Jean Racine's work is still widely read and frequently performed.


The linguistic effects of Jean Racine's poetry are widely considered to be untranslatable, although many eminent poets have attempted to translate Jean Racine's work into English, including Lowell, Richard Wilbur, Ted Hughes, Tony Harrison, and Derek Mahon, and Friedrich Schiller into German.