This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is devoted to achieve an understanding of Racine's Phèdre by pivoting the tragedy through a number of its cultural contexts. The name of Racine is synonymous with classicism; the Oxford English Dictionary defines 'classic' with reference to Racine. The work of a cultural philology is to bring out some of the meanings of this state of affairs. In terms Nietzschean and Auerbachian, the expression 'cultural philology' is tautological, for each practised a philology which served an inquiry into culture. Auerbach argued with Vico that 'philology investigates what the various peoples regarded as true at each cultural stage and what accordingly formed the basis of their actions and institutions'. To construct involves a heaping up with parts, in this case, that part which Auerbach called 'an almost ideal starting point' for philological inquiry, the textual passage.