The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book The Complete Plays of Jean Racine

The Complete Plays of Jean Racine

Volume 3: Iphigenia Jean Racine, Translated into English rhymed couplets with critical notes and commentary by Geoffrey Alan Argent
  • Copyright: 2011
  • Dimensions: 5 x 8
  • Page Count: 168 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-04859-8
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-04860-4

This is the third volume of a projected translation into English of all twelve of Jean Racine’s plays—only the third time such a project has been undertaken. For this new translation, Geoffrey Alan Argent has rendered these plays in the verse form that Racine might well have used had he been English: namely, the “heroic” couplet. Argent has exploited the couplet’s compressed power and flexibility to produce a work of English literature, a verse drama as gripping in English as Racine’s is in French.

Complementing the translation are the illuminating Discussion, intended as much to provoke discussion as to provide it, and the extensive Notes and Commentary, which offer their own fresh and thought-provoking insights.

In Iphigenia, his ninth play, Racine returns to Greek myth for the first time since Andromache. To Euripides’s version of the tale he adds a love interest between Iphigenia and Achilles. And dissatisfied with the earlier resolutions of the Iphigenia myth (her actual death or her eleventh-hour rescue by a dea ex machina), Racine creates a wholly original character, Eriphyle, who, in addition to providing an intriguing new denouement, serves the dual dramatic purpose of triangulating the love interest and galvanizing the wholesome “family values” of this play by a jolt of supercharged passion.

Geoffrey Alan Argent is an independent scholar residing in Pennsylvania. He has received a 2011 American Book Award for The Fratricides, the first volume of The Complete Plays of Jean Racine.


Translator’s Note

Iphigenia: Discussion

Racine’s Preface


Iphigenia: Notes and Commentary

Selected Bibliography

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