Ovidian Retro-Metamorphosis on the Elizabethan Stage
Although Ovid dedicated his Metamorphoses to the subject of change, the vast majority of the corporeal alterations catalogued in this ancient Roman poem are singular, permanent transformations. In contrast, dramatists writing for the Elizabethan stage tended to represent fantastical, neo-Ovidian metamorphoses as temporary and reversible. With particular reference to the plays of John Lyly — and especially Love’s Metamorphosis — this article exposes conceptual and generic deviations between the static post-metamorphic norm found in Ovid’s Latin poetry and Elizabethan England’s theatrical depictions of bodily retro-metamorphoses.
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