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Oenone and Paris
Katherine Heavey

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.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
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Thomas Heywood and ‘the antique world’
Janice Valls-Russell and Tania Demetriou

This introduction reviews the critical state of play in the study of Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition, acknowledging the collection’s debt to the innovative work of M. L. Stapleton on Heywood’s translations of Ovid, Richard Rowland’s dedicated studies of the author and the edition of Troia Britanica coordinated by Yves Peyré. It also explores Heywood’s idiosyncratic classicism across his long career. A discussion of A Woman Killed with Kindness and The Rape of Lucrece shows that Heywood’s non-classical plays can be productively read through a classical lens, and suggests the crucial interaction between his classical and non-classical oeuvre. Heywood’s very diverse genres, we argue – translation, drama, poetry, compendia, pageants, panegyrics and pamphlets – are porous, and his classical creativity is a thread that runs through them. Classical interests also forge telling connections across Heywood’s different creative periods and offer an illuminating perspective on his authorial self-fashioning. Beginning by playing with myth in an epyllion (like many contemporaries), he increasingly turned himself into a distinctive vernacular humanist for whom myth became a way of thinking: educating a wider audience, moralising about society, writing about past and present, and perhaps above all sharing the pleasure of stories.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Mythographic complexities in 1 Iron Age
Charlotte Coffin

While Thomas Heywood was a fine classicist, his staging of the Trojan War in 1 Iron Age relied on non-Homeric sources, especially William Caxton’s The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1473/74). After considering mythological scholarship and literary historiography, the discussion focuses on Recuyell’s influence, providing a medieval, retrospective, pessimistic viewpoint on Troy that Heywood translated into the play’s obsession with predictions and posterity. Finally, the chapter traces how Heywood handled the contradictions arising both from within Caxton’s collection and from his combination of it with Homer’s Iliad and Ovid’s Heroides and Metamorphoses. While he reverted to classical sources to supplement Recuyell, his interweaving is not seamless. Heywood was both learned and experienced enough to have deliberately introduced such jarring juxtapositions, which were part of his poetics. In 1 Iron Age, they may also invite the spectator and reader to take a critical look at classical culture and heroism.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Yves Peyré

An experienced craftsman, Thomas Heywood was aware of generic requirements and expectations. Yet he also liked to confront different discourses, to fuse them or make them jolt against one another. When inspired by the stories of Antiquity, his writing involves acts of remembering, through dismembering and blending. This chapter considers how his composition, combining segmentation and selection with imaginative connexions, reflects reading experiences, which can be partly reconstituted from his system of borrowings and quotations in such works as Gynaikeion and The Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells (1635), as well as plays such as 1 Iron Age. Close readings of Heywood’s account of the Amazons, or the fate of Pyrene, reveal a knowledge of mythographic treatises, compilations and commonplace books, alongside classical authors and contemporaries. His mythographic readings structure his way of thinking about myth which, as his handling of themes like birth-giving suggests, is not devoid of empathy for women.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Lucrece and Callisto
Janice Valls-Russell

Several of the women Thomas Heywood writes about in Gynaikeion were familiar exemplars in the arts, but less frequently embodied on stage as characters in their own right. This chapter looks at what happens when Heywood lifts two victims of rape, Callisto and Lucrece, out of the realm of example to bring them on stage in The Golden Age and The Rape of Lucrece respectively. It explores what happens in the process of enacting familiar tales of seduction, and the possible impact on the expectations of spectators, to whom the ultimate outcome is known. Rather than try to resolve contradictions between the multiple versions he draws on, Heywood plays with the dynamics this allows him in a multigeneric, empathetic approach. Through the challenge of staging a rape, Heywood also explores the ethics and challenges of staging the mythographic process.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Thomas Heywood’s 3D engagement with the classics
Janice Valls-Russell

During the 1630s, his last creative decade before his death in 1641, Thomas Heywood published classical plays, a masque, compendia, and devised seven civic pageants. He also helped devise the iconological programme of the largest ship ever built until then, the Sovereign of the Seas, providing a written account in A True Description of his Majesties Royall Ship. The ship, which was launched in 1637 and remained in service until the late 1690s, has not survived. Visual evidence of what it looked like can be reconstituted from paintings, engravings, drawings and models, alongside Heywood’s own account, which also provides a historiographic and mythological rationale for a naval project that encountered opposition. Reading over Heywood’s shoulder as he writes, while looking at the iconography, this chapter investigates how his mastery of classical material in a variety of forms (which include Vincenzo Cartari’s and Cesare Ripa’s mythographies) materialises in a mytho-historiographic building programme.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
The world of Lucian in Thomas Heywood’s stage poetry
Camilla Temple

This chapter considers Thomas Heywood’s relationship to the Greek satirist and prose writer Lucian of Samosata. It looks at Heywood’s translation of nine of Lucian’s dialogues in Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s. Lucian’s Dialogues offered Renaissance dramatists an arresting vision of what it meant for the classical gods to be on stage, influencing Heywood in a play like The Silver Age. The philosophical and religious implications of Lucian’s irreverence towards the gods, which earned him popularity with the humanists, also fascinated Heywood, who introduced Lucian’s hell in The Hierarchie of Blessed Angells. This chapter argues that Lucian provided Heywood with an imaginative structure that allowed him to create dramatic worlds where classical myths collide with early modern theologies in the moment of their realisation on stage. The resulting drama offered a clash of registers, and this productive dissonance enabled Heywood to develop hellish scenes that he shaped for his own dramatic purposes.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Theorising practice in Thomas Heywood’s Ages plays
Chloe Kathleen Preedy

In his pro-theatrical treatise An Apology for Actors (1612), Thomas Heywood adapts the classical trope of the Four Ages to lament early modern drama’s fallen state. The same myth structures Heywood’s five Ages plays, which dramatise events from the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages while simultaneously registering the commercial English theatre’s intervening presence. Focusing on the Ages plays, this chapter analyses how Heywood employs temporal, spatial and elemental cues that consciously emphasise his drama’s ongoing implication in both the imaginative processes of historical narrative and the social, economic and environmental exchanges of contemporary London, prompting playgoers towards a new understanding of theatre as a physically embedded medium of exchange. In the process, I suggest, Heywood engages with and reassesses the theories of dramatic composition that early modern authors inherited from their classical predecessors, developing a new theory of drama for the Iron Age present.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition

Thomas Heywood was unusual in the diversity and sheer quantity of his output, and fascinatingly individual in his classicism. This volume offers a ground-breaking investigation of his engagement with the classics across a writing career that spanned more than 40 years. It is the first in-depth study of his classicism, and it features a variety of perspectives. The introduction and twelve essays trace how the classics shaped Heywood’s writing in a wide variety of genres – translation, drama, epyllic and epic verse, compendia, epigrams, panegyrics and pamphlets – and informed both his many pageants and the warship he helped design for Charles I. Close readings demonstrate the depth and breadth of his classicism, establishing the rich influence of continental editions and translations of Latin and Greek texts, early modern mythographies, chronicles and the medieval tradition of Troy as revived by the Tudors. The essays probe Heywood’s habit of juxtaposing different and often disjunctive layers of a capaciously conceived ‘classical tradition’ in thought-provoking ways, attend to his use of the multiplicitous logic of myth to interrogate gender and heroism, and consider the way he turns to antiquity not only to celebrate but also to defamiliarise the theatrical or political present. Different contributions focus on A Woman Killed with Kindness, Oenone and Paris, Loves School, The Rape of Lucrece, Troia Britanica, the Ages plays, Gynaikeion, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s, Apology for Actors and Sovereign of the Seas. Classical reception thus provides an illuminating, productively cross-generic angle for approaching Heywood’s prolific output and idiosyncratic aesthetic.

Emulation, adaptation, and anachronism
M. L. Stapleton

Current adaptation theory could be applied to Thomas Heywood’s translation of Ovid’s Ars amatoria, sometimes known as Loves Schoole (c. 1599–1620). However, the interrelated concepts of imitatio and aemulatio anticipated these newer ways of reading, and are more accurate modes for study. Thomas M. Greene, George Pigman III, and Lynn Enterline have established the indispensability of the terms for understanding early modern encounters with the classical past. They served as signifiers of a multiplex educational and rhetorical system that authors imbibed from Erasmian humanist schooling and that dominated their writing lives. Educated in this way, Heywood inhabited Ovid’s poem as he translated, as Petrarch and others had counselled. By incorporating Loves Schoole into his subsequent work, Heywood relieved Ovid of some aspects of his misogynist reputation, reconfiguring him into the kind of man he desired Ovid to be.

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition