ABSTRACT:

This review article assesses three recent books by Jonathan Bate: Radical Wordsworth; The Poet Who Changed the World; How the Classics Made Shakespeare; and Shakespeare and Ovid. Bate is a poet-minded biographer and a biographer of poets. His work is considered from the perspective of a practicing poet engaged with Shakespeare and Wordsworth and what I consider Bate's pioneering quest for roots. Bate examines “the source of Ovid's intense appeal, to the ancients and to Shakespeare.” Individual poems and plays discussed include those by Ovid, Shakespeare, and Wordsworth. Shakespeare's early Venus and Adonus and The Rape of Lucrece reflect Shakespeare “emerging …as the untiring psychopathologist of desire.”

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