Jean Racine: Bérénice

(2270 words)

Bérénice, the sixth play by Jean Racine, and only his second tragedy set in Rome, has had a chequered reception history. When first staged at the leading Paris public theatre, the Hôtel de Bourgogne, in November 1670, with the newly-recruited actress (and lover of Racine) Marie Champmeslé in the title role, it enjoyed public success, as well as being selected for a private performance by royal command the following month. Many discerning theatre-goers, especially women, apparently liked it enough to return for a second or third performance, such was the pleasurable combination of tenderness and tears. Over the following century, its popularity was sustained, with more than one hundred different public …

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Citation:
Worth-Stylianou, Valerie. "Bérénice". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 January 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6358, accessed 02 October 2014.]