Tragic Passages

Roland Racevskis

Jean Racine's Art of the Threshold

221 pages
ISBN 1611482850
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture

Tragic Passages presents a new, theoretically informed reading of Racine's nine secular tragedies, from La Thébaïde (1664) to Phèdre (1677). This detailed study focuses on literary and theatrical constructions of space, time, and identity. With power and penetration Roland Racevskis argues that Racine places his characters in a position of limbo, between the self and the other, between what is onstage and what is offstage, between life and death, the transcendent and the terrestrial, and the personal and the public. Racine's secular tragedies thus highlight the paradoxical human predicament of being caught in between states of being and develop aesthetics of the threshold. Racevskis demonstrates how Racine's tragedies explore multiple intermediary spaces of experience, from the personal to the eschatological, and thus undertake a sustained inquiry into philosophical question of world limits and of the boundaries of human experience, questions that have become urgent in the present day.

"Author of a notable book in the literature of eartly modern France, Time and Ways of Knowing under Louis XIV: Moliére, Sévigné, Lafayette (2003), Racevskis brings a fresh perspective to Racine's tragedies. His probing analysis testifies to their richness, complexity, and continued significance across the centuries." -- C.B. Kerr, Vassar College (CHOICE, May 2008)

About the author:

Roland Racevskis, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in French at the University of Iowa, is the author of Time and Ways of Knowing: Molière, Sèvignè, Lafayette (Bucknell University Press, 2003).


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