This study explains that Shakespeare's use of Ovidian text as source material produces an intrinsic theme when viewed through the scope of a writer whose primary aim was to provide his audience with a 'uniquely English' dramatic product. Looking beyond basic source studies, this book reconceptualizes the influence of the poet Ovid on the works of Shakespeare, emphasizing the parallel ideological structures and motivations in both poets' works. The first section of the book works through a close examination of a single play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", unpacking its essential qualities of translation, conflation, and appropriation. The next section traces meta-Ovidian elements through a variety of Shakespeare's other works, identifying intertextual parallels as well as meta-Ovidian traits in the poems and plays. The third section deals with three Ovidian tendencies which are evinced or reinforced within Shakespeare's original staging practices: the concept of metamorphosis or translation, the use of mythological/archetypal characters and figures, and the overarching polyvalence of characters, settings, and the playhouse itself.
The final section connects the meta-Ovidian traits to the prevalent currents in contemporary literature that signaled a departure from a Roman imperial (or papist) translatio imperii to forge a new English mythology with its established mandate from the ancient power of Troy.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd