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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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Materia conveniente modis”: Early Modern Dramatic Adaptations of Ovid

Materia conveniente modis”: Early Modern Dramatic Adaptations of Ovid

(p.238) Chapter 13Materia conveniente modis”: Early Modern Dramatic Adaptations of Ovid
Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre

Ed Gieskes

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter takes up various modes of Ovidian adaptation. The poet and his poems operate not only as sources for later works but also as models for structure. The essay looks at the way that Jonson’s play about writing — Poetaster — uses Ovid as a character while also considering his poetic legacy by using a slight revision of Marlowe’s translation of Amores 1.15 to stand in for the Ovidian poetic corpus. Ovid works as both a source and a problem in the play. In Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, Ovid is an important presence but more as a source of structure than of content. I argue that the way the play defers narrative has much to do with Ovidian techniques of narrative deferral that produce a desire to hear the deferred tale. In both cases, Ovid gets adapted in ways that go beyond retelling stories from the Metamorphoses.

Keywords:   Ovid, Marlowe, Shakespeare, adaptation, source, Poetaster, The Winter’s Tale, Amores, Metamorphoses

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