Esther and Athaliah, two plays adapted from those of Jean Racine by Richard Bunning

As a tame introduction to the work of Jean Racine, this adaptation is most helpful, presenting the plays in abridged form and in contemporary English. Unfortunately, they thereby lose some of their claim to fame as “masterpieces of one of the greatest literary artists known”.

Both plays follow the biblical narratives rather closely, while adding some drama and appropriate chorus roles for its intended cast, the girls of the Maison royale de Saint-Louis in Saint-Cyr. This boarding school was founded by king Louis XIV at the request of his second wife, Madame de Maintenon, to cater for girls from impoverished noble families.

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