Recommended

Category: literature

Sub category: play, drama, theatre

Title: Phèdre (alt: Phaedra)

Author: Jean Baptiste Racine

About: Phaedra, wife of Theseus, king of Athens, step-mother to Hippolytus. Seeded deep in Phaedra’s heart is a dark secret: an uncontrollable love, lust even, which she has for her step-son Hippolytus. When word arrives Athens that Theseus has died at the war front, Phaedra seizes the opportunity to feed her desire and confesses to Hippolytus her passion for him. Hippolytus spurns her. But that is least of Phaedra’s worries because word reaches Athens once again that Theseus is actually alive and making his way back home. And Hippolytus wishes to speak with his father, urgently.

Thoughts: written during the French renaissance, this is one of the most heart-rending, thought-provoking plays you will ever read. A true renaissance classic. Available for free in most online libraries (if you can’t find it in a bookshop). Readers may be unfamiliar with historical and cultural references so don’t be shy to research for clarity where necessary.

Advertisements

Define: Renaissance

RENAISSANCE

\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s, -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs, ˈre-nə-ˌ, chiefly British ri-ˈnā-sən(t)s\
noun
Usage: often attributive
1 capitalized
a : the transitional movement in Europe between medieval and modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy, lasting into the 17th century, and marked by a humanistic revival of classical influence expressed in a flowering of the arts and literature and by the beginnings of modern science
b : the period of the Renaissance
c : the neoclassic style of architecture prevailing during the Renaissance
2 often capitalized : a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity
3 : rebirth, revival
4. A NEW ARTS MOVEMENT COMING TO YOU FROM AFRICA
Examples
the 19th-century literary renaissance that prompted people to refer to Boston as the Athens of America
Origin: French, from Middle French, rebirth, from Old French renaistre to be born again, from Latin renasci, from re- + nasci to be born — more at nation.
First use: 1845
Synonyms: golden age, belle epoque
Antonyms: dark age