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Phaedra

Jean Racine

Translated by Edwin Morgan

Cover Picture of Phaedra
Categories: French, Scottish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (140 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2000)
9781857544640
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Phaedra is a new verse translation of Racine's Phaedre. As with his acclaimed and often-performed Cyrano de Bergerac (published by Carcanet in 1992), so here Edwin Morgan has chosen to translate this greatest of French classic tragedies, with its measured and highly formal rhetoric, into a vigorous, specific idiom: a Glaswegian-based Scots. It is a risk worth taking: the version is at once true to the drama and psychology of Racine's play, but also answers the dramatic needs of modern theatre. Morgan's aim is to make Racine's play speak with immediacy and to remove the hushed respect with which Racine is often presented, replacing it with a deeper respect for Racine's poetry, the characters and today's audience.
    Jean Racine
    Jean Racine (1639-1699) is France's greatest tragic playwright. Edwin Morgan was born in Glasgow in 1920. He became lecturer in English at the University of Glasgow and retired as titular Professor in 1980. Carcanet publish many of his works, including Collected Poems (1990), Crossing the Border: essays (1990), Sweeping Out the ... read more
    Edwin Morgan
    Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) was born in Glasgow. He served with the RAMC in the Middle East during World War II. He became lecturer in English at the University of Glasgow, where he had studied, and retired as titular Professor in 1980. He was Glasgow's first Poet Laureate and from 2004 until ... read more
    Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
    Praise for Edwin Morgan 'Edwin Morgan's experimental and science fiction poems often imply joyful adventure, boundless optimism.'

    Carol Rumens, The Guardian where 'A Little Catechism' was Poem of the Week

    'distinctly and excitingly nonconformist [...] they stunningly convey the poet's love for Glasgow. The traditional structure is interjected with Scottish language and anecdotes, making it a thought-provoking read.'

    Scottish Field

      'A broad celebration of one of the most lively and creative writers of his time'

    Mike Ferguson, Stride Magazine
    'For readers new to Morgan, it forms a perfect introduction, showcasing his fearless experimentation... For those who already know Morgan's work, this selection is a welcome romp of rediscovery. It offers a reminder that he masters every form - from sonnets to strict rhyme schemes with free rhythm to the disintegrating word curtains of some of his early concrete poems - and gilds them all with the humour and humanity that infuse his own effervescent voice.... He never shrinks from the darkness but the shimmering beauty of his words somehow makes it more bearable.'

    Fiona Rintoul, The Herald

    'Thank God, thank whatever all-seeing quick-witted deity you like, we have Edwin Morgan to show us how to live, and keep living..."pleasure" is nowhere strong enough to convey the joyous energy of his work.'

    Kathleen Jamie 

     'Edwin Morgan's translation of twenty-five poems into Scots, now reissued after almost half a century, finesses one difficulty by substituting another. Wi Haill Voice gives Mayakovsky a shout from the streets without making him a Dickensian exercised in dialect - Scots provides the necessary sense of estrangement.'
    William Logan, The New Criterion
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