WHY, to our Wonder, in this Place is seen
Title: Part of the Fifth Scene in the Second Act of Athalia, a Tragedy, written in French by Monsieur Racine.
Primary Texts: No MS; 1713 Misc, 84-7*.
Secondary Ed: Rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 123-5.
Source: Grande reine, est-ce ici votre place? . . . ", Racine, Athalie, II, v, 1-50.
Comment: powerful, does have personal obsessive feel as of someone recounting her own nightmares, hallucinatory feel in details, particularly of the corpse of the dreamer's mother torn "on the Stones" to "Flakes of mangled Flesh/that quiv'ring still/Proclaim'd the Freshness of the suffer'd Ill."
Date: This play was first printed in 1697; there was interest in Racine on the English stage at the time Finch was writing the translations for her book: in 1707 Edmund Smith (Finch's "Poet Rag") rewrote Phedre as Phaedra and Hippolytus; in March 1712 Ambrose Philips took his The Distrest Mother from Andromache (with Anne Oldfield in the lead part) was performed with success; and in 1714 Charles Johnson wrote The Victim from a combination of Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis and Racine's Iphigenie. Finch's lines are not, as are many translations from the couplet art of the later 17th century French drama, stilted or over-formal, not heroic rant; she articulates the inward experience of trauma.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003