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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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Ovid and the Styles of Adaptation in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Ovid and the Styles of Adaptation in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

(p.182) Chapter 10 Ovid and the Styles of Adaptation in The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre

Goran Stanivukovic

Edinburgh University Press

The Two Gentlemen of Verona heralds the beginning of Shakespeare’s long-lasting appropriations of Ovid in his drama and poetry. This chapter analyzes the stylistic resonance of Ovid’s Heroides in Shakespeare’s earliest comedy. The focus of exploration is on the affinities between the emotional intensity and stylistic exuberance of Ovid’s love poetry and the richness of the figurative language of Shakespeare’s early Ovidianism in drama. Shakespeare turned to Ovid for crafting his own dramatic poetry of love and erotic desire because Ovid’s works resonated with the expressive freedom to which Shakespeare turns to free his love poetry from conventions. Shakespeare transforms the rhetoric of the verse epistle from the Heroides, a work associated with women, to suit the male voice.

Keywords:   style, Heroides, Ovidianism, figurative language, erotic desire, verse epistle, male voice, earliest comedy, Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona

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