First performed by Paul's Boys in the 1580s, but of uncertain date, Love's Metamorphosis is widely regarded as the most elegantly structured of Lyly's plays. The plot looks back, in part, to the account of Erisichthon's punishment for the desecration of Ceres' grove in Ovid's Metamorphosis, book 8, but the Ovidian story is woven into a wider network of interests turning upon aspects of love. A series of allusions to earlier Lylian compositions (Sappho and Phao and Galatea) invites the audience to view the play in terms of a continuum of work, exploring the status of Cupid and the nature and extent of his power. The play is notable for the articulate resistance offered by the female characters towards the desires of their lovers and the wishes of authority figures, while Erisichthon's daughter, Protea, is of particular interest to feminist criticism in that she offers a striking example of a woman empowered rather than marginalized by the loss of her virgin state.
Revived towards the close of the sixteenth century, when it was performed by the Children of the Chapel, the play is of importance to theatre historians in that it is the only one of Lyly's comedies known to have passed from Paul's to a different troupe. It is newly edited here from the sole early witness, the quarto of 1601.
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(216mm x 138mm x 20mm)
Manchester University Press
Publisher: Manchester University Press
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Author Biography - John Lyly
Leah Scragg is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester