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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece within the context of the relationship between word and performance. Tracing the poems’ exploration of both action and affect, it examines the multiple forms through which representation becomes authoritative. Beginning with Venus, it focuses on the relationship between performance—sexual, artistic, theatrical, and authorial—and response, emotional, physical, and amorous. Developing the dynamic between action and affect, The Rape of Lucrece produces a complex relationship between knowledge and representation in which the legibility of the body emerges as a powerful and often destructive marker of authority. In this poem the language of print—reading, writing, interpreting, and reproducing—imaginatively reconstructs the body in action. Situating these narrative poems within the context of dramatic performance and textual authority, the chapter highlights the role of the narrative poems in the development of Shakespeare’s dramatic art.

Keywords: book, stage, print, publish, body, action, authorship, authority, representation, art, text, performance

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