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Reading the Allegorical IntertextChaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton$
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Judith H. Anderson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823228478.001.0001

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Venus and Adonis: Spenser, Shakespeare, and the Forms of Desire

Venus and Adonis: Spenser, Shakespeare, and the Forms of Desire

(p.201) 13. Venus and Adonis: Spenser, Shakespeare, and the Forms of Desire
Reading the Allegorical Intertext

Judith H. Anderson

Fordham University Press

Modern editors say that Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis was written 1592–1593. It is also the precise period in which Shakespeare is thought to have written Richard III, a play full of memories of the 1590 Faerie Queene. In Venus and Adonis, Venus switches from being a manhandler to being a pathetic mourner over the body of dead Adonis. This kind of switch becomes a major problem because it is hard to rationalize the transition specially when convincing. Although passion and grief are twinned conditions of wanting, the shift in this poem from an aggressive to a helpless, pathetic one challenges credible mimesis and human credibility. Instead of a mythic rationalization, Venus and Adonis is a seriocomic meditation on the landscape of desire or wanting.

Keywords:   Richard III, Spenser, Faerie Queene, desire, wanting, Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare, poem

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