Shakespeare and Ovid

Shakespeare and Ovid

4.17 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.17 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is the first comprehensive account of the relationship between Shakespeare and his favourite poet, Ovid.

Jonathan Bate examines the full range of Shakespeare's work, identifying Ovid's presence not only in the narrative poems and pastoral comedies, but also in the Sonnets and mature tragedies. He shows how profoundly creative Ovid's influence was, from the raped Lavinia's turning of the pages of the Metamorphoses in Titus Andronicus, and the staging of Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream, to the reanimation of Hermione's statue in The Winter's Tale and Prospero's renunciation of his
magic in The Tempest. The Heroides are shown to have been vital to Shakespeare's female characters, but it is the Metamorphoses which animate Professor Bate's book, just as they animated the whole of Shakespeare's career.

This original and elegantly written book reveals Shakespeare as an extraordinarily sophisticated reader of Ovidian myth and as a metamorphic artist as fluid and nimble as his classical original.

From reviews of the hardback:

'Jonathan Bate has written the first comprehensive account of Shakespeare's relationship with the poet who influenced him most deeply . . . His book is a fine example of scholarship put at the service of Shakespeare.' Sunday Telegraph

'Bate's choice of Ovid as affording a means of returning to the idea of literature as transcending history seems to me both correct and very cunning . . . Bate is, again and again, brilliant.' London Review of Books

'excellent study . . . he brilliantly demonstrates the fructifying presence of Ovid, overtly in the early and late work but also as a subtler "underpresence" in the mature tragedies.' Shakespeare Survey
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Product details

  • Paperback | 310 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 19mm | 425g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198183240
  • 9780198183242
  • 581,450

Review quote

This fascinating book introduces us to yet another dimension of his genius. It also wipes out the memory of static classroom excerpts and reveals Ovid in his full splendour. * Patrick Leigh Fermor, "Books of the Year", Spectator * Bate is, again and again, brilliant ... This is literary criticism of the highest order. * A. D. Nuttall, London Review of Books * "The clarity and detail of argument, and elegance of style, make this a delightful book ... Bate's work is grounded in a solid historical knowledge of the period ... Bate has produced a fine synoptic treatment, which deserves the widest possible readership." Isabella Wheater, Oxford, Review of English Studies, 1999 We have needed and awaited the definitive book on Shakespeare and Ovid for many years now. It is here and it is brilliant ... Literary criticism came in with The Iron Age, but now and then someone comes along and does it so nimbly, profoundly, and movingly, that one may suppose it was an art of The Silver Age, lost in the interim and newly discovered. Jonathan Bate's book is like that. * Charles Whitworth, Cahiers Elisabethains *
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Rating details

30 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 43% (13)
4 37% (11)
3 13% (4)
2 7% (2)
1 0% (0)
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