Excerpt from Andromaque: Tragédie; Edited With Introduction, Notes and Vocabulary
Jean Racine was born on the twenty-second of December, 16 39, at La ferté-milon, of a good bourgeois family. Left an orphan at the age of three years, he went to live with his grand mother, whos... e home was beside the Abbey walls. One of his aunts, Agnes Racine, became abbess in the convent of nuns connected with the institution. At the age of twelve the lad was sent to the College de Beauvais, which was also under its influ ence. At the age of sixteen he was admitted to the Ecole des Granges, which was conducted by the men of port-royal. Here he was steeped in the religious atmosphere of the place; and here, too, he received the most efficient instruction that was to be found then in France. It was a classic education: he read and made commentaries on the great writers of antiquity, from Homer to Plutarch, Terence, and the church fathers. In Greek especially, for which he early showed a marked predilection, he was very thoroughly trained both in the letter and the spirit. Tradition represents him wandering in the groves of port-royal, a copy of Sophocles in his hand, and memorizing the lengthy Greek love story of Theagenes and Chariclea in order to have it for his delectation when his copy' should be confiscated by his austere superiors.
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