2 John Addington Symonds, ‘Introduction’, in Thomas Heywood , ed. Arthur Wilson Verity, The Mermaid Series (London: Vizetelly, 1888), pp. vii–xxxii.
3 Thomas Heywood, Troia Britanica (London: W. Jaggard, 1609). See the online edition, YvesPeyré (gen. ed.), Troia Britanica (2009–19), available at www.shakmyth.org , accessed 24 June 2020.
4 References to Natale Conti are to Natalis Comitis Mythologiae, sive explicationum fabularum libri decem (Paris: Arnold Sittart, 1583), henceforth Mythologia . References to Vincenzo Cartari are to the
. When Heywood indited the Ages , as when he advertised the ninth book of Gynaikeion , ‘Entreating of women in generall’, as being ‘interlaced with sundry histories’, 79 he may have had the feeling that he was adopting a mode of composition that he surely considered attractive and even, perhaps, classical.
1 See YvesPeyré, ‘Heywood’s library: the books Thomas Heywood used when he wrote Troia Britanica ’ , in Thomas Heywood, Troia Britanica , ed. Y. Peyré et al . (2009–19), available at www.shakmyth.org , accessed 24 June 2020. Unless otherwise
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.
Turning his gaze far upstream, away from the literature of the 1960s and 1970s, Roland Barthes might have taken as archetypal of such feuilletage, or multi-layering, the intertextual practices of classical antiquity. Trans-generic textual transfers not only favour an exploration of gender assumptions, they trigger off a wider process that approaches categories through their permeability. As it plunges its roots into the multi-layered, contrasted textual system of antiquity, Shakespeare's text develops its own all-inclusive, non-discriminatory vision. Based on textual dialogues, it calls for new types of dialogue. The forms of integration that it operates, beyond temporal and cultural differences, favour hybridisation, variegation and contamination in open configurations that emphasise the fluidity of frontiers, whether textual or cultural - so that it might be at least partly thanks to its multi-textuality, itself based on trans-textuality, that Shakespeare's text has become and remains essentially multi-cultural.
Janice Valls- Russell, Agnès Lafont, and Charlotte Coffin
introduction sets the scene for the following chapters and their
reinterpretations and explorations of the ways William Shakespeare and
his contemporaries worked mythological material on their looms.
YvesPeyré’s analysis of the resulting
mythological cluster (‘Ariachne’s broken woof’) shows
how it brings together two Ovidian stories that Shakespeare suffuses
elsewhere in his work with Petrarchan imagery of the
play [ The Iron Age ]’. 21 In chapters 5 and 7 respectively, Richard Rowland and YvesPeyré trace the genesis of Hercules’ anti-heroic features in The Brazen Age while in chapter 6 Charlotte Coffin shows how Heywood draws attention to the contradictory features of Paris or Achilles in The Iron Age by playing on the disjunctions between the author’s sources and leaving them deliberately apparent: these ‘clashes’, she argues, ‘are deliberate – both a self-conscious highlighting of multiple versions, and an invitation to adopt a critical viewpoint on heroism
culture and heroism.
Reconsidering the tradition
Although mythology seems classical material par excellence , its endless rewritings complicate the notion of a classical tradition. As YvesPeyré writes, intertextuality is present from the start:
When Shakespeare plays host to Ovid, he is not inviting Ovid alone into his text, he is also welcoming in Ovid reading Virgil, himself reading Homer, with all the depth, freedom and delicious lightness this multi-layering engenders, as each text leaves a trace in the others, introducing an enriching leaven that
locus for dialogue among competing versions, with Dido’s
story offering, in YvesPeyré’s terminology, the
‘intertextual marker’ around which these exchanges take
place, constructing a multi-layered rhetorical and visual aesthetic for
the stage. 14
First, I shall consider the medieval tradition of Dido that
Marlowe was also heir to. I wish to demonstrate that Dido gains
Ovine tropes and the Golden Fleece in The Merchant of Venice
See YvesPeyré, ‘Marlowe’s
Argonauts’, in Jean-Pierre Maquerlot and Michèle Willems
(eds), Travel and Drama in Shakespeare’s Time
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 106–23. On
the Order of the Golden Fleece, mentioned in 1 Henry VI
(IV.vii.68–9), see Chapter 3 (Dominique
: Nicholas Okes, 1612), sig. B1r.
2 See chapter 11 (Chloe Preedy) in this volume.
3 On the complexity of Hercules’ meanings for Heywood, see chapters 5 (Richard Rowland) and 7 (YvesPeyré) in this volume; also, Rowland, Killing Hercules: Deianira and the Politics of Domestic Violence, from Sophocles to the War on Terror (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017).
4 Heywood’s claim in the above passage, ‘By the censure of Horace , Thespis was the first tragicke writer’, refers to Horace’s observation that ‘Ignotum tragicae genus invenisse Camenae / dicitur … Thespis