Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1699 to 1699: Britannicus to Samson Agonistes

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Racine. French. 1669. Play.

Britannicus. From Tacitus. Political drama. Nero tries to win Junia, his half-brother Britannicus’s beloved. He is foiled.

Pascal. French. 1670/1844. Nonfiction. Pensees. In defense of Christianity and Catholicism.

Corneille. French. 1670. Play. Tite et Berenice. Titus is to marry Domitia. However, Domitia is in love with Titus’s brother, Domitian. Berenice, Queen of Judea, arrives and reawakens Titus’s love for her. Fearing that she puts Titus in jeopardy, she leaves. Titus allows Domitia to marry Domitian. Racine and Corneille both wrote plays on the subject. Racine’s was judged better.

Racine. French. 1670. Play. Berenice. The Emperor Titus learns that the Roman people object to his marrying the queen of Palestine. The lovers part forever.

Milton. British. 1671. Poetry. Samson Agonistes. Captivity of blinded Samson among the Philistines; repudiates Delilah. Samson’s efforts to renew his faith in God’s support; modeled on Greek tragedy.

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