Intertextuality and Thomas Heywood’s early Ovid
Oenone and Paris
in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
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This chapter examines Oenone and Paris (1594), an epyllion attributed to T. H., and generally thought to be Thomas Heywood’s earliest published work. The poem is discussed in relation to circulating versions of the Trojan myth (Greek, Latin and vernacular) and to Heywood’s later Trojan works, Troia Britanica and 1 The Iron Age. The poem has received attention for its use of rhetorical devices, and its relationship to Virgilian and particularly Shakespearean antecedents. Rather than mimicking Venus and Adonis, T. H.’s adaptation reshapes his classical and early modern models, revealing his own expectations of his readership, and his commitment to entertaining and challenging these readers. The chapter posits Oenone and Paris as a complex experiment with the legend of Troy. Drawing on Ovid, Lucian and Colluthus, the poem signals Heywood’s attentiveness to literary fashion and his lifelong interest in the intertextuality of this mythic story.

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