Alan Hollinghurst on Translating Racine

New production of Berenice in London until 24 November
Alan Hollinghurst
Alan Hollinghurst discusses his new translation of Jean Racine's Berenice in The Guardian: 'Two men enter a grand and empty room, one marvelling at its splendour, one wary and preoccupied. The former is a soldier and a servant to the other, a foreign king who is also a great military hero. The king speaks a phrase: "ArrĂȘtons un moment" – as if reluctant to set in motion a sequence of events which once begun will bring him certain misery. He comments on his attendant's marvelment, completes a long verse line, then speaks another, which rhymes with it. Already two things, one dynamic, the other cumulative, have been initiated: on the one hand the metronome of rhyme has begun to tick and the rhyming couplets that follow will enact over the coming 90 minutes a movement as inexorable as time itself; on the other, a unit, of form and sense, has been set down, one on which each of the characters in the play will in turn place further blocks, the rising stairs of an invisible monument.' [Read More]

Also at A Piece of Monologue: