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date: 05 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespeare’s comedies feature characters who are always open to the possibilities of Ovidian transformation, and in four comedies in particular—Two Gentlemen of Verona, Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Much Ado about Nothing—the transformation can be a painful one. This chapter surveys these four comedies in order to understand the relationship between teaching and taming. I engage with recent Shakespeare criticism that foregrounds the importance of Ovid’s work to the rhetorical practices of Tudor-era grammar schools. I also draw upon readings of Ovid’s Heroides, Ars Amatoria, and Metamorphoses in order to articulate a vision of a pedagogical enterprise that on the one hand privileged translation and transformation and on the other hand attempted to regulate the bodies of Tudor schoolboys. In doing so, I explore the complex Ovidian engagements that produced knowledge of the body and of relationships in Shakespeare’s culture and on his stage.

Keywords: Ovid, Heroides, Ars Amatoria, Metamorphoses, Tudor schoolroom, sexual violence, abandonment, Early Modern rhetoric, translation

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