Phedre A Play by Jean Racine Author:Jean Rachine, translated by Ted Huges [From back cover] — The myth of Phaedra - or Phedre - is one of the most powerful in all of classical mythology. As interpreted by the French playwright Jean Racine (1639-99), the dying queen's obsessive love for her stepson, Hippolytus, has come to be known as one of the great dramas of tragic infatuation, a tale of love strong enough to bring d... more »own an entire kingdom.
In this "tough, unrhyming avalanche of a translation" (Paul Taylor, The Independent), Hughes replaces Racine's alexandrines with a muscular, high-tension English verse that serves eloquently to convey the passions of his protagonists. Diana Rigg starred in a production of the translation which was performed to great acclaim in London and New York.
"The French alexandrine couplet is notoriously hard to replicate in English cadences...yet, in the...fast-moving free verse he used to translate it, [Hughes] seems utterly at home with the action."--Eavan Boland, The New York Times Book Review
"[Ted Hughes] at his best...It is a strange and wonderful fact that...he should write so brilliantly just before he died."--Brian Cox, The Hudson Review
Ted Hughes was poet laureate to Queen Elizabeth II from 1984 until his death in 1998 at the age of sixty-eight. He wrote more than forty books of poetry, prose, and translation, including his versions of the Oresteia of Aeschylus and the Alcestis of Euripides.« less