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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
The shifting value of classical mythology in Love’s Mistress
Charlotte Coffin

Through an analysis of Love's Mistress, this chapter addresses how cultural tastes and approaches to classical learning evolved in the first half of the seventeenth century, and highlights the influence of French fashions. It considers why Love's Mistress was so successful with its elite public, despite or perhaps because of its sturdy, potentially subversive comedy. The chapter first explores the elite/popular divide through a comparison with the vogue for burlesque in seventeenth-century France - the native country of Queen Henrietta Maria. Second, it argues that taking sides in the play's several controversies matters less than appreciating the situations of arbitration that Heywood consistently emphasises, making this a play not just about mythology, but about the critical apprehension of mythology and drama. Finally, the chapter addresses the generic complexity of Love's Mistress, including its relationship to Heywood's earlier Ages, contemporary pageants, and masques.

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