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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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The Art of Precedent

The Art of Precedent

(p.83) 3 The Art of Precedent
Shakespeare and Ovid

Jonathan Bate

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece are proofs of William Shakespeare's self-conscious Renaissance exercises in the imitation and amplification of Roman poet Ovid. It suggests that these two narrative poems need to be read side by side with the narratives upon which they improvise. The author proposes that several contemporary texts have precedents in ancient literature. These include Ausonius' Fasti for William Warner's Albion's Englande and Lucan's Pharsalia for Daniel Drayton's civil war poems.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, Ovid, literary precedents, Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, Francis Meres, Ausonius, Fasti, William Warner, Albion's Englande

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