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Agnès Lafont

Greek authors celebrate Dido under the name of Elissa as the virtuous founder of Carthage. This chapter first considers the medieval tradition of Dido that Marlowe was also heir to. It demonstrates that Dido gains from being read against that tradition, which Tudor translators and printers ushered into early modern culture. This coloured Marlowe's reading of the classics and contributes to the play's rich fabric of irony and pathos. Second, the chapter shows how, although the choice of a proto-feminist stance in Dido is Ovidian in spirit, Marlowe's inventio simultaneously lies in a clever dispositio of Virgilian material. This implies that Dido's seeming inconsistencies on stage result from deeply embedded aesthetic choices. When Marlowe engages in playful intertextual games, he reflects on his own activity as a reader, a translator and a dramatist while sharing with his audience a common historical, literary and imaginary backdrop.

in Interweaving myths in Shakespeare and his contemporaries

This book sets the scene for the reinterpretations and explorations of the ways William Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked mythological material on their looms. In Ovid, each text leaves a trace in the others, introducing an enriching leaven that expands the text. Reading Holinshed's efforts to place Samothes or Brutus on England's family tree, one feels sorry for those chroniclers who had to reconcile a variety of founding tales and defend mutable causes. Founding myths need a renowned ancestor; warlike feats; identification with a territory, continuity, purity of blood; and someone to tell the story: fame must be recorded by pen if it is to survive marble monuments. The book discusses the Trojan matter of King John, which powerfully structures and textures the scenes of the siege of Angiers and, more specifically, the tragic fates of Constance and Arthur. It also considers some metamorphoses of Shakespeare and Ovid. The book reiterates imaginative association, influence, historically diachronic descent study, as evidenced in that kind of critical work that finds in a keyword an attractive pretext for projecting an author's particular interest or, a critic's. Yves Peyré's work opens perspectives on post-Shakespeare reworkings and Shakespearian myths that were also explored during the ESRA conference and inspired a separate collection of essays, Mythologising Shakespeare: A European Perspective.

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‘Ariachne’s broken woof’
Janice Valls- Russell, Agnès Lafont, and Charlotte Coffin

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shares Yves Peyré's concentration on historically informed close reading in order to identify and understand the multiple layers that modify mythological texts from generation to generation. It also offers fresh perspectives on classical mythology as it informed the writings of Shakespeare and his contemporaries over a period that ranges from the 1580s to the 1630s, from Christopher Marlowe to Thomas Heywood. Focusing on interweaving processes in early modern appropriations of myth, the book draws on a variety of approaches to ask how the uses of mythological stories enabled writers to play with representations of history, gender and desire. Building on recent research in different areas of early modern studies, the book seeks to heighten awareness of multi-directional interactions in the perception and reappropriation of classical mythology in Elizabethan and Jacobean culture.

in Interweaving myths in Shakespeare and his contemporaries