First English translation of Les Tragiques

A new book by Trinity Senior Tutor and Professor in French Valerie Worth is the first English translation of Agrippa D’Aubigné’s epic poem, Les Tragiques.

Composed in France in the 1570s, and first published in 1616 in Geneva, Les Tragiques records the story of the suffering of the Protestants in the French Wars of Religion defeated party, vividly depicting a devastated country and combining portrayals of the worst atrocities of the Wars with satirical attacks on leading political and religious figures. In doing so it sets the Protestant sufferings within the overarching context of God’s eternal plan for his chosen faithful. And while the work focuses on France, it also presents tableaux from the Reformations across Europe and in the Americas.

Professor Worth’s translation includes an introduction and detailed critical notes on the text. She says: ‘I see translation as an essential tool in the dialogues between past and present, different cultures and languages, and different disciplines. As first a student and then a scholar of Renaissance literature, I have been fascinated by the sheer power and scale of D’Aubigné’s account of the Reformations and civil wars.

‘I wanted this work to be accessible to a far wider readership, and I hope that a modern English translation – with a critical introduction and generous notes and indexes – will achieve this. It has been a privilege to undertake the work with the support of Trinity College, and especially in dialogue with our French Tutorial Fellow, Professor Katherine Ibbett, whose own recent book, Compassion’s Edge, has made a significant contribution to our understanding of D’Aubigné.’

Published: 18 February 2020

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