Catherine Bates

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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This article discusses Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, the Sonnets, and A Lover's Complaint. Venus and Adonis presents itself as being different from the drama in every possible way: it appeals to a different kind of audience, offers a different kind of content, and promotes a quite different kind of author. Shakespeare also used Venus and Adonis to launch himself on the literary scene and to present himself in a way that, at the time, was not available to him as a writer of plays. The Rape of Lucrece – another long, narrative poem that was published the following year – relates to Venus and Adonis in many ways as a sister poem or companion piece. The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint, published together in a single quarto volume in 1609, received the least allusions among Shakespeare's works.

Keywords: Venus and Adonis; Shakespeare; Sonnets; Lover's Complaint; Rape of Lucrece

Article.  9962 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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