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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 April 2021

Sexual Poetry

Sexual Poetry

(p.48) 2 Sexual Poetry
Shakespeare and Ovid

Jonathan Bate

Oxford University Press

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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