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Esther & Athaliah

Esther and Athaliah are two plays based on biblical texts, which have strong principle female roles. They were considered very modern plays in their day, being written for performance by a female, rather than the traditional all male, cast. The plays were written for the girls of St. Cyr School, which had been set up by the  Marquise de Maintenon, the second wife of Louis XIV. 

Esther is about the Jewish "princess" Esther, and her rise from the pitiful serfdom of the Jews exiled in Persia. Her status, and that of all the Jews, is lifted when she eventually marry's King Ahaserrus. The main subplot is woven around the bitter rivalry between Haman & Mordecai.

Athaliah is the story of Queen Athaliah, who believes she has destroyed all the rival members of Judah's Royal family, and her plans to destroy the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. With the help of the High Priest of Baal she plans a final assault.

ISBN: 978-0-9562937-1-8 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9562937-6-3 (eBook version)

My versions of Jean Racine's neoclassical, alexandrine metred, French language, poetic plays are adaptations into plain English prose. Poetry is almost always clumsy in translation, or altered beyond the possibility of accurate interpretation. 
I aim for easy interpretations of the original plays, to facilitate reading for both pleasure and study and to provide good material for performance. Racine's beautiful plays lose their poetic craft, but accessibility and comprehension are greatly enhanced for the English reader. Whilst aiming for accuracy they are not academic translations.
Cover detail_from two paintings, "The Swooning of Esther" and "Athaliah Chased from the Temple" by Antoine Coypel (1661-1722) (Louvre, Paris).

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