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. Corneille’s Cinna (1641) explores absolute power in ancient Rome. Molière’s comedy The Misanthrope (1666) sees its antihero reject society for its hypocrisy. Racine’s Andromache (1667) recounts the tragedy of Hector’s 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.
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About the Author
Pierre Corneille (1606–1684), often hailed as the father of French tragedy, made his name with the tragicomedy Le Cid in 1637. His best-known works include Horace and Cinna.
Molière is the pen name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622–1673), one of the greatest French comedians. His numerous plays include Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, and L’Avare.
Jean Racine (1639–1699) became known as one of the seventeenth century’s 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.