Definitions for racine, jean

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  1. Racine, Jean

    great French tragic poet, born at La Ferté Milon, in the dep. of Aisne; was educated at Beauvais and the Port Royal; in 1663 settled in Paris, gained the favour of Louis XIV. and the friendship of Boileau, La Fontaine, and Molière, though he quarrelled with the latter, and finally lost favour with the king, which he never recovered, and which hastened his death; he raised the French language to the highest pitch of perfection in his tragedies, of which the chief are "Andromaque" (1667), "Britannicus" (1669), "Mithridate" (1673), "Iphigénie" (1774), "Phèdre" (1677), "Esther" (1688), and "Athalie" (1691), as well as an exquisite comedy entitled "Les Plaideurs" (1669); when Voltaire was asked to write a commentary on Racine, his answer was, "One had only to write at the foot of each page, beau, pathétique, harmonieux, admirable, sublime" (1639-1699).

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