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Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre$
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Lisa S. Starks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474430067

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474430067.001.0001

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Women in Trees: Adapting Ovid for John Lyly’s Love’s Metamorphosis (1589)

Women in Trees: Adapting Ovid for John Lyly’s Love’s Metamorphosis (1589)

(p.39) Chapter 2 Women in Trees: Adapting Ovid for John Lyly’s Love’s Metamorphosis (1589)
Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre

Shannon Kelley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers rhizomatic adaptation from an ecofeminist perspective in John Lyly’s Love’s Metamorphosis (1589), which begins with an unconventional scene. A wounded stage tree protests her assault with a long speech concerning two other Ovidian tree heroines, Daphne and Myrrha. This surprising moment in the theater disrupts centuries of lyric tradition wherein women who turn into trees become mute plants, especially since she speaks with grafts of Ovidian verse and wax writing tablets positioned as though they grew from her branches. After discussing how grafting complicates the arboreal model for adaptation, this chapter turns to history of the book scholarship to explore what exactly wedges into the crevice of Ovid’s early modern bark, and how Deleuze’s assumptions about material books fall short of the variety of texts and composition practices that comprise early modern literacy.

Keywords:   Daphne, John Lyly, tree, literacy, Ovid, adaptation, rhizomatic, Deleuze, Love’s MetamorphosisM, ecofeminist

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