Shakespeare’s Erotic Mythology and Ovidian Renaissance Culture
Shakespeare’s Erotic Mythology and Ovidian Renaissance Culture, written by Agnès Lafont, is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between Shakespeare’s works and the Ovidian Renaissance culture of the Elizabethan era. Lafont delves into the complex interplay between Shakespeare’s use of Ovidian mythology and the cultural context in which he was writing, revealing how his works were shaped by the intellectual and literary trends of the time.
The book begins with an overview of the cultural and intellectual milieu of the Elizabethan era, focusing on the revival of interest in classical literature and the influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in particular. Lafont then turns her attention to Shakespeare’s works, examining how he drew on Ovidian mythology to explore themes of love, desire, and sexuality. She argues that Shakespeare’s use of Ovidian mythology was not simply a matter of borrowing stories and characters, but rather a sophisticated engagement with the cultural and literary traditions of his time.
One of the key themes of the book is the relationship between eroticism and power, and Lafont shows how Shakespeare used Ovidian mythology to explore the dynamics of sexual desire and its relationship to social and political power. She also examines the role of gender in Shakespeare’s works, showing how his use of Ovidian mythology allowed him to challenge traditional gender roles and explore alternative modes of masculinity and femininity.
Throughout the book, Lafont draws on a wide range of sources, including contemporary literature, art, and philosophy, to provide a rich and nuanced analysis of Shakespeare’s works. She also situates Shakespeare’s works within the broader cultural context of the Elizabethan era, showing how they were shaped by the intellectual and literary trends of the time.
Overall, Shakespeare’s Erotic Mythology and Ovidian Renaissance Culture is a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of the relationship between Shakespeare’s works and the cultural context in which they were written. Lafont’s analysis is both rigorous and accessible, making this book an essential read for anyone interested in Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, or the history of sexuality and gender..