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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‘Each chapter clearly fulfills the collection's purpose, to reinvestigate the uses of classical mythology by Shakespeare and his peers. The craftsmanship metaphor inherent in the title is apt, given the prevalence of the weaver's art in foundational narratives from the ancient world and the aesthetic of Ovidian storytelling with its multiplex interconnecting strands. Indeed, the readings “open up methodological perspectives on multi-textuality, artistic appropriation and cultural hybridity.”….I cannot recommend Interweaving Myths highly enough to experts in the field, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates who wish to learn from a group of scholars whose offerings are accessible as well as sophisticated and innovative.'
M. L. Stapleton, Purdue University

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