Shakespeare's belated Lucrece

Bezzola Lambert, Ladina. (2009) Shakespeare's belated Lucrece. In: The construction of textual identity in medieval and early modern literature. Tübingen, pp. 143-161.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5253270

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Shakespeare’s retelling of the old Lucretia story in The Rape of Lucrece is marked by belatedness. Written in the wake of many classical, medieval and Renaissance writers, the poem follows a long literary tradition. It moreover confronts a debate, initiated by Augustine, about Lucretia’s role in the rape, the morality of her suicide and the legend’s larger historical significance. By the sixteenth century, Lucretia had also become a popular motif in the visual arts. For Shakespeare as a latecomer to the age-old preoccupation with Lucretia, this entails an awareness of both the danger and the potential the story holds. My essay is concerned with Shakespeare’s approach to the moral debate about Lucretia. This approach depends, first of all, on the privileged access his poem offers to Lucrece’s private thoughts and emotions, but also on the way his Lucrece enters into dialogue with many themes and motifs employed in earlier versions of her story, with the contemporary genre of the female complaint and with representations of Lucretia in the visual arts. Shakespeare’s poem dramatizes the attempt to rehabilitate Lucrece’s character and establish her authority over her story. At the same time, it emphasizes the contested nature of this authority.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > English Modern Literature (Habermann)
UniBasel Contributors:Bezzola Lambert, Ladina
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item, refereed
Conference or workshop item Subtype:Conference Paper
Publisher:Gunter Narr Verlag
Series Name:Spell
Issue Number:Vol. 22
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Conference paper
Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 06:51
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:04

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