Metamorphosis as a Figure for ‘Impure’ Desire. Venus and Adonis between Poetry and Performance

  • Chiara Lombardi University of Torino (IT)
Keywords: Shakespeare, Ovidio, Metamorfosi, Performance, Retorica


The essay analyses the different figures of desire in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. Through the analysis of the rhetorical strategies, and the intertextual resonances, it examines the function of metamorphosis in the interaction between language and performative dynamics, with reference to the recent Italian rewriting and representation of the text made by Valter Malosti. Metamorphosis is read as a figure of ‘impure’ desire not only as it makes identities more fluid and interchangeable, by challenging individual and social roles (such as male/female, active/passive, divine/human, nature/culture etc.), but also as it contributes to break the dichotomy between realty and ideal, and between life and death, by emphasizing the strength of the passions – enhanced by the relationship between poetry and performance – against death and reification.


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Author Biography

Chiara Lombardi, University of Torino (IT)

Graduated cum laude and press dignity in Classical Philology, conferred with a PhD in Comparative Literature, since 2007 Chiara Lombardi is Research Fellow in Comparative Literature at the Department of Studi Umanistici (University of Torino), where she currently teaches.

Her main fields of research and teaching involve the modern reception of ancient literatures, the studies of literary characters, the Renaissance European Literature and the XXth Century Comparative Literature.

She translated Shakespeare for Einaudi and Bompiani, and she published several essays and four books: 

: Mondi nuovi a teatro. L'immagine del mondo sulle scene europee di Cinquecento e Seicento: spazi, economia, società, Milano, Mimesis, 2011; Troilo e Criseida nella letteratura occidentale, Roma, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2005; J. M. Coetzee, ­­Tra allegoria e intertestualità: l’eroe ‘ stupido’ di J. M. Coetzee, Alessandria, Dell’Orso, 2006; ­­«La sacra isola sotto il sole». Il mito di Atlantide in Platone, Casti, Foscolo, Leopardi, Civitavecchia, Edizioni Prospettiva, 2006.


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How to Cite
Lombardi, C. (2013). Metamorphosis as a Figure for ‘Impure’ Desire. <i>Venus and Adonis</i&gt; between Poetry and Performance. Between, 3(5).