LECTURE VI
MODERN CLASSICAL TRAGEDY: RACINE, ALFIERI

WE now turn to consider the modern classical drama, the drama which traces its source to Seneca and Euripides. In this, two figures stand out before all others: they are Racine and Alfieri. In the drama, these are the two typical products of the classical Renaissance. The work of Corneille and Voltaire is doubtless of vast importance. But there are two reasons why, in the limited time at our disposal, it is necessary to pass them over. In the first place, neither of them, purely as dramatist, can, in my opinion, claim to have shown the same genius as the two writers I have mentioned. In the second place--and this is a less disputable positon--both of them mingled in their plays so many elements which, at least by courtesy, may be called romantic that the distinctly classical impression is largely done away.

For the present we confine ourselves to Racine. What exactly, we ask, does he stand for? What

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