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Literary Criticism English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Sexuality and Citizenship

Metamorphosis in Elizabethan Erotic Verse

by (author) Jim Ellis

Publisher
University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2003
Category
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Poetry
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780802087355
    Publish Date
    Aug 2003
    List Price
    $87.00
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781442679863
    Publish Date
    Jul 2003
    List Price
    $91.00

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Description

Based for the most part on Ovid's Metamorphoses, epyllia retell stories of the dalliances of gods and mortals, most often concerning the transformation of beautiful youths. This short-lived genre flourished and died in England in the 1590s. It was produced mainly by and for the young men of the Inns of Court, where the ambitious came to study law and to sample the pleasures London had to offer. Jim Ellis provides detailed readings of fifteen examples of the epyllion, considering the poems in their cultural milieu and arguing that these myths of the transformations of young men are at the same time stories of sexual, social, and political metamorphoses.

Examining both the most famous (Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis and Marlowe's Hero and Leander) and some of the more obscure examples of the genre (Hiren, the Fair Greek and The Metamorphosis of Tabacco), Ellis moves from considering fantasies of selfhood, through erotic relations with others, to literary affiliation, political relations, and finally to international issues such as exploration, settlement, and trade. Offering a revisionist account of the genre of the epyllion, Ellis transforms theories of sexuality, literature, and politics of the Elizabethan age, making an erudite and intriguing contribution to the field.

About the author

Jim Ellis is Professor of English and Director of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities at the University of Calgary. He has written widely on art, literatue and film, and has served on the boards of Truck Gallery and Calgary Cinematheque.

Jim Ellis' profile page

Other titles by Jim Ellis