Talk:Jean Racine

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Mention of Proust[edit]

The mention of Proust' fondness for Racine in the latter portion of the article should be moved from the 21st century to either the 20th, or more likely the 19th century (since he was rather fond of Racine in his youth, the late 1800s). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 20 September 2011 (UTC) zerg,protoss,terran — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


Someone much more technically proficient than I should really move this page back to simply Jean Racine. The idea that an obscure bobsledder (who doesn't even have an article) could compete for universal recognition with the dramatist is, to put it nicely, rather puzzling. Hubacelgrand 21:29, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

That is a most uncivilized way to engage in discussion. The problem is easily solved to the satisfaction of both parties, as has been done accordingly after the Mozart-article precedent ~ JJ

I think the disambiguation is important. The bobsledder does in fact have his own page.

seems to me that his name is jean-baptiste Racine

Probably 80% of all French-speakers named "Jean" are actually "Jean-Baptiste" -- but Racine is known as "Jean". --Michael K. Smith 19:18, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

This page also has very few sources and references... (i.e. 1)

It seems very odd to say "He was by now acquiring many rivals, including Pierre Corneille" when Corneille was in the field before him.--MWLittleGuy (talk) 22:11, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

- Problem solved, by changing it to: "Amongst his rivals were Pierre Corneille" etc etc. ~ JJ

Include dramatic works translated titles[edit]

Someone should add translations of the titles in the Dramatic Works section. After all, this is an encyclopedia for English readers. (talk) 19:45, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

  • The works have been by convention spelled according to their French originals to differentiate them from plays of the same subjects by authors in English. We do the same thing with our spelling of Greek Works, making The Odyssey remain so named rather than calling it by the correct translation into English of "The Story of Odysseus". If you still find them entirely confusing, it may be helpful to add short descriptions of which mythological or historical figures the plays involve....--Artimaean (talk) 19:14, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Racine's Vocabulary[edit]

Is the statement that "Racine restricts his vocabulary to a mere 800 words" correct? I read online that Freeman and Batson's concordance of Racine's works lists 4088 different words, but perhaps there's an explanation for the different numbers. The concordance, for example, counts the words in Racine's non-theatrical poetry. Pgallagher (talk) 04:13, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

I found a bunch of conflicting numbers, and stuck with the highest for certainty: 4000.
His vocabulary is remarkably restricted for a dramatist, but I think the competing claims are something like the "Eskimo Words for Snow" legend; once a striking characteristic is observed, people cannot help but embellish it. I'm sure somebody more reliable can reduce that number based on different use of the same verb or noun, but for now, at least it is cited.--Artimaean (talk) 19:17, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

I found one error:

German "höflich" means "polite".

"courtly drama" is "höfisches Drama" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


I find the charge of "untranslatable" to be rather too much in this case, and changed it to referring to the effects of Racine's language, for two reasons. First, the claim was barely made in the sources for cited; the best one can find for it is the notorious introduction by Robert Lowell, who though he is a reliable poet, is not necessarily a widely revered critic or translator. Even so, his writings refereed more to the poetry of the verse rather than the whole plays, which he in turn translated admitting to adding his own effects. Second, the principle of it. To say that a work is untranslatable is often made about a work in one's first language, and rarely qualified. It would be far more honest to say that said poetry loses much in translation, and there are many poets notorious for this loss; Holderin, Dante, and Whitman come to mind. Almost always, the "untranslatable" charge refers to the fact that out of the original linguistic context, the verse loses the sound effects that make it remarkable in the first place. Nevertheless, with a few exceptions (See especially Borges' writing on Finnegans Wake), there is always more to the verse than its linguistic effects; especially with a poet so theatrical as Racine. Even if one were to lose the whole of the poetry by simply translating the metaphors and story with little thought to the sound, this adaptation is still a translation, no matter how much one loses. To say that translation is impossible to a rather angsty and self-defeating way of referring to a common critical problem; that we always lose a little and gain a little by translating things, and that any translation is simply not the original. Even in some cases, translations have been said to exceed the original; like Goethe's "translations" of the Osinian fragments in Werther, such is claimed by the more enthusiastic critics of the Tyndale or King James translations of the Bible, or the translations of Seneca's tragedies that held the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists in such a reverence, which many reading the originals cannot find. --Artimaean (talk) 19:02, 21 April 2012 (UTC)