Chapter

Mythological (Mock) Epics: The Stage of Honour

Oliver J. Noble Wood

in A Tale Blazed Through Heaven

Published in print October 2014 | ISBN: 9780198707356
Published online December 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191778629 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198707356.003.0004

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Mythological (Mock) Epics: The Stage of Honour

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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This chapter considers two mock-heroic treatments of the tale of Mars, Venus, and Vulcan from the first quarter of the seventeenth century: Juan de la Cueva’s ‘Los amores de Marte y Venus’ (1604), a significant amplification of the tale which combines a wide range of previous tellings; and Lope de Vega’s ‘La rosa blanca’ (1624), an eclectic poem that splices together various different classical tales to form a biography of Venus. Focusing on the relationship between imitation and invention, this chapter discusses the use of forms and structures associated with epic poetry, the invention of original back-stories and continuations, and the incorporation of details drawn from commonplace books, iconographical handbooks, and vernacular translations of classical sources. It also examines the influence of contemporary drama, considering the ways in which certain changes and additions made by Cueva and Lope serve to draw out the theatrical qualities inherent in the tale. Finally, this chapter argues that the two poems represent a halfway house, simultaneously looking backwards to the Petrarchan and Neoplatonic topoi prevalent in sixteenth-century treatments of the tale, and forwards to the unequivocably burlesque tellings that would emerge in subsequent decades.

Keywords: Lope de Vega; Juan de la Cueva; epic; mock-epic; drama; Los amores de Marte y Venus; La rosa blanca

Chapter.  16289 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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