Choosing Ovids (2)

Maggie Kilgour

in Milton and the Metamorphosis of Ovid

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589432
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738500 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Choosing Ovids (2)

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Chapter 2 positions the young Milton in relation to major trends of Caroline Ovidianism, represented by both the libertine poets and the court masques. Given the role of Ovid in courtly self‐representation, it suggests that rewriting Ovid drew Milton inevitably into political debates. It returns to the Latin works and Comus to look particularly at the moments when Milton reworks Ovid's Fasti. Drawing on recent scholarship on Ovid's poetic calendar, it demonstrates that the poem's experimentation with genre and its preoccupation with the poetics and politics of time spoke to the concerns of 16th‐ and 17th‐century English writers. Ovid's calendar is recalled in discussions by antiquarians of English holidays and customs, and in debates over chastity which looked back to the stories of Daphne and Lucrece. As well as playing a crucial role in Milton's poetical development, Ovid is bound up in his political awakening.

Keywords: Comus; Caroline poetry; chastity; holidays; time; Daphne; Lucrece; seventeenth-century writers; politics; court masques

Chapter.  30065 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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