Leather bound with gilt lettering to spines and marbled boards. Illustrated with many lovely black and white in-text illustrations and plates. French text, this is Vols. I and II.
Jean Racine (December 22, 1639 ? April 21, 1699) was a French dramatist. Racine was primarily a tragedian, though he did write one comedy.
His first tragedy, La ThÃ©baide (1664) and its successor, Alexandre (1665), both had classical themes, but he was already entering into controversy, taking offence at the accusation that he was polluting the minds of his audiences. He proceeded with Andromaque (1667), which told the story of Andromache, widow of Hector, and her fate following the Trojan War. He was by now acquiring many rivals, including Pierre Corneille and his brother, Thomas Corneille.
However, the major incident which seems to have contributed to Racine's departure from public life was his implication in a court scandal of 1679. He got married at about this time, and his religious beliefs and devotion to the Jansenist sect were revived. When at last he returned to the theatre, it was at the request of Madame de Maintenon, mistress of King Louis XIV, with the moral fables, Esther (1689) and Athalie (1691), both of which were based on Old Testament stories and intended for performance by the pupils of the school of Saint-Cyr.
The quality of Racine's poetry is perhaps his greatest contribution to French literature. His use of the alexandrine is considered exceptional in its harmony, simplicity and elegance.
Racine's work faced many criticisms from his contemporaries. One was the lack of historic veracity in plays such as Britannicus (1668) and Mithridate (1673). Racine was quick to point out that his greatest critics ? his rival dramatists ? were among the biggest offenders in this respect. Another major criticism levelled at him was the lack of incident in his tragedy, BÃ©rÃ©nice (1670). Racine's response was that the greatest tragedy does not necessarily consist in bloodshed and death.
The bindings are tight and firm and all covers are attached. There is some wear to the extremities. The spines are chipped to the top and tail and the corners of the boards are bumped. There is also some damage to the leather on the front board of Vol. I, and the spines are rubbed. Internally the books are clean and bright apart from some isolated spots and some age toning of the pages. The front first few pages of Vol. II have been creased in the top corner.
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