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Shakespeare and Ovid$
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Jonathan Bate

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183242.001.0001

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Sexual Poetry

Sexual Poetry

Chapter:
(p.48) 2 Sexual Poetry
Source:
Shakespeare and Ovid
Author(s):

Jonathan Bate

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183242.003.0002

This chapter discusses the influence of Ovid's Metamorphoses on William Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis. It suggests that the Metamorphoses may be considered the first sexual poetry ever written. The focus of both versions is on persuasion to love. This chapter argues that within Shakespeare's poem there are signals that make the Ovidian source-text much broader than the seventy or so lines of direct material. It also reveals that Ovid's version was written in less than a hundred lines while Shakespeare did it in more than a thousand.

Keywords:   Ovid, Metamorphoses, William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, literary source, sexual poetry

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