Harmful Eloquence: Ovid's Amores from Antiquity to Shakespeare

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University of Michigan Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 175 pages
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M. L. Stapleton's Harmful Eloquence: Ovid's Amores from Antiquity to Shakespeare traces the influence of the early elegiac poetry of Publius Ovidius Naso (43 B.C.E.-17 C.E.) on European literature from 500-1600 C.E. The Amores served as a classical model for love poetry in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and were essential to the formation of fin' Amors, or "courtly love". Medieval Latin poets, the troubadours, Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare were all familiar with Ovid in his various forms, and all depended greatly upon his Amores in composing their cansos, canzoniere, and sonnets. Harmful Eloquence begins with a detailed analysis of the Amores themselves and their artistic unity. It moves on to explain the fragmentary transmission of the Amores fragments in the "Latin Anthology" and the cohesion of the fragments into the conventions of medieval Latin and troubadour "courtly love" poetry. Two subsequent chapters explain the use of the Amores, their narrator, and the conventions of "courtly love" in the poetry of both Dante and Petrarch. The final chapter concentrates on Shakespeare's reprocessing and parody of this material in his sonnets. Medievalists, classicists, and scholars of Renaissance studies will find Harmful Eloquence particularly engaging and useful. This work has received early praise for its Shakespearean content and is vital to scholars in this area. Stapleton's scholarship is both enjoyable and readable with a contemporary approach.

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The Amores and Personae
The desultor Amoris before 1100
Ovid and the Troubadours

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