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Alan HollinghurstWriting Under the Influence$
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Michèle Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097171

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097171.001.0001

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Using Racine in 1990; or, translating theatre in time

Using Racine in 1990; or, translating theatre in time

(p.156) 10 Using Racine in 1990; or, translating theatre in time
Alan Hollinghurst

Denis Flannery

Manchester University Press

This chapter reads Alan Hollinghurst's translations of Jean Racine (1639-1699), with particular emphasis on his 1990 translation of Racine's Bajazet (1672). It connects Hollinghurst's translations of this violent and anomalous tragedy with a range of artistic and theoretical work all from about 1990: Tony Kushner's translation of Corneille, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's use of Racine to develop her theory of the closet and Derek Jarman's Racinian-inflected film adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II, among others. Situating Hollinghurst's Racine in this cluster of works makes him part of a cultural energy that can only be read as a deeply skeptical response to Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 declaration of 'the end of history'. Exploring the interplay between the specifics of Hollinghurst's translation and current theoretical work on queer temporality and theatrical time, the essay also connects Hollnghurst's Bajazet to the particularly intense phase of the AIDS epidemic with which it coincided and to cultural responses thereto.

Keywords:   Racine, Translation, 1990, Closet, AIDS, Tragedy, ‘End of History’, Derek Jarman, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Tony Kushner, Alan Hollinghurst

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