Ruth Morse
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Pygmalion, once and future myth
Instead of a conclusion
in Interweaving myths in Shakespeare and his contemporaries
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From Shakespeare's odd use of one figure in one myth, this chapter considers some metamorphoses of Shakespeare and of Ovid. It has general points to reiterate about imaginative association, influence, historically diachronic descent study, as evidenced in that kind of critical work. Measure for Measure's Lucio's multiply insulting reference to Pygmalion invites us to linger over questions of allusion and interpretation in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The chapter explores how the unpleasant crack in the mouth of the chancer, Lucio, came to be there; and what it implies for the circumstances of this play, but also for interpretation more generally. 'Allusion' raises many of the difficulties familiar from studies of 'influence': here, too, one must beware of mistaking a resemblance for an apparent line of direct descent. So the chapter looks at a slightly less short extract and the interpretative difficulty of noticing both apparent presences and real absences.

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