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Philhellene Protestantism, Renaissance translation and English literary politics

Relatively late manifestations of the European philhellene revival of Greco-Roman letters presented to readers complex, extended prose fiction in which the trials of love mask an implicit moral and political allegory. Inevitably, coming during the Reformation, Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Reformation, this cultural phenomenon was not without its religious and political dimensions. Longus, Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus were the three principal English exponents of rhetorically conscious Greco-Roman erotic romance. This book enhances the understanding of the erotic romances of Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, and Lady Mary Sidney Wroth by setting them within an integrated political, rhetorical, and aesthetic context. It investigates how Renaissance translators alter rhetorical styles, and even contents, to accord with contemporary taste, political agendas and the restrictions of censorship. Particular attention is paid to differences between the French courtly style of Jacques Amyot and François de Belleforest and the more literal translations of their English counterparts. Valuable perspective on the early translations is offered through the modern English versions in B.P. Reardon's Collected Ancient Greek Novels. The book considers the three texts of Sidney's Arcadia, as a political romance sharing many of the thematic and rhetorical concerns of the ancients. It focuses on a narrow range of Shakespeare's plays including Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The book identifies Mary Sidney Wroth's masque-like prose allegory, The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, as philhellene Protestant political propaganda.

Victor Skretkowicz

Greco-Roman Romance of the Second Sophistic and the Renaissance Erotic romance, Middle Eastern in its provincial origins but European in its flavour, achieved a spectacular flourishing between 1579 and 1626 in the writings of Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586), William Shakespeare (1564–1616) and Mary Sidney Wroth (1587–1651/53). The

in European erotic romance
Abstract only
Victor Skretkowicz

begins with a brief chapter on the nature of ancient and Renaissance Greco-Roman romance. It contains introductory notes on the rhetorical exercises of Aphthonius; on Philostratus, ecphrasis and artistic style; on Theophrastan and Plutarchan characterisation; and on the implicit links between philhellenism and allegorical politicisation. It then devotes one chapter each to the Continental editions, and

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

purse of gold in the cradle, and a little writing in it, […] to call me Urania, and when I came to sixeteene yeeres of age to tell this to me. (I.22) If Urania had been properly educated in Greco-Roman romance and its Renaissance adaptations, she might have taken comfort from the knowledge of the ultimate and

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

monarchomachist views consistent with the nationalist politics of the tolerant philhellene Protestants. Shakespeare’s allusion to, and absorption of, the Greco-Roman romances is so varied that it has been described as ‘vague and elusive, even in his recognition scenes a matter of general similarities of incident and situation’. 2 This chapter places Shakespeare’s adaptations of Greco- Roman

in European erotic romance