Lot n° 72
500 - 700
FRANCE Anatole (1844-1924) [AF 1896, 38e f].
MANUSCRIT autograph signed "Anatole France", Racine, ; 6 pages in-4 on Senate letterhead.
Biographical note on Jean Racine.
[This study appeared, under the title Jean Racine, in L'Amateur d'autographes of October-December 1873, and was included at the beginning of the preface of Anatole France to the first volume of the OEuvres de Racine published by A. Lemerre (1874-1875). The manuscript has many erasures and corrections].
Retracing quickly the life of Racine, France says his admiration for this "genius at once the purest and the truest. Each of these tragedies, founded on the knowledge of the man and the passions, is a masterpiece of moral philosophy at the same time as a miracle of poetry". His most beautiful tragedy, Phèdre, was however "very badly received by the public. Racine saddened, wounded, gave up the theater. He was not 38 years old ". He took up his pen again to compose for the young boarders of Saint-Cyr, the "pretty tragedy" of Esther, and Athalie " Voltaire said of Racine's genius that it was "beautiful, harmonious, sublime". I think I can add to this praise by adding that he was human: Racine observed, knew men, felt their moral sufferings, loved their loves. The first in France he gave truth for principle to poetry and studied only nature. He keeps in all the measure and it is the very perfection of his works which hides the greatness of it to the minds which do not have the suitable culture.
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