A poetics of exile: the reception of Ovid’s Tristia in Tudor England

Buckingham, Sophie (2018) A poetics of exile: the reception of Ovid’s Tristia in Tudor England. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Using a combination of manuscript and printed sources, this thesis examines the ways in which Ovid’s Tristia was read and received in sixteenth-century England. This study challenges the presupposition that readers have perpetuated since the early twentieth century – that Ovid was a lascivious or scandalous poet, spreading works full of lust – and forwards the case for Ovid the family man, loving husband, defender of poetry and immortal fame. Its opening chapter gives the reader a thorough grounding in the reception history of the Tristia – how it was read and used in the medieval and early-modern period in both France and England, in its manuscript and printed forms. It proves that this text was much-appropriated for its moral standpoint well into the seventeenth century. Chapter two provides vignettes of three writers key to England’s continued engagement with the Tristia - John Skelton, Geoffrey Whitney and Ben Jonson - illustrating the work’s wide appeal to poets, emblem-book compilers and playwrights in the sixteenth century. The ways in which envoy and the ‘Go Little Book’ conceit emerge in English Renaissance literature begins to be traced here. Chapter 3 on Thomas Wyatt subreads the Petrarchan angle from which the Tristia was approached, forwarding the case for a repurposing of the exilic work in his amatory verses. Thomas Churchyard’s influence on the canon presents itself in chapter 4, as, significantly, the first translator of a three-book Tristia in 1572. Here the copy used is reidentified and Churchyard’s own imitative practice of translation examined. Finally, the work culminates with a chapter on Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti, Epithalamion, Colin Clouts Come Home Againe and the Shepheardes Calender, the ways in which they re-use the Tristian envoy, and how they approach monumentalising the poet through myth-making in a conscious attempt to confer immortal fame.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Gillian Aldus
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 15:44
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2019 15:44
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/70426
DOI:

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