Versifying the Senecan Chorus: Notes on Jasper Heywood’s Emulative Approach to Troas
Jasper Heywood’s 1559 translation of Seneca’s Troas is the first Senecan tragedy to be printed in England and is well-known for its free and inventive approach. Alterations include the addition of a whole speech and above all the radical transformation of the choral odes. It has been suggested that the addition of a new Chorus and the gradual effacement of the female collective at the level of drama respond to a poetic project establishing Heywood as a tragic poet in the speculum tradition. This article delves deeper into this question. Considering versification as a formal apparatus characterising the dramatic and perspectival functions of this new Chorus, it explores Heywood’s response to the original metres of Seneca. It then discusses their apparent inconsistency in view of a poetic design grounded in Heywood’s peculiar interpretation of this tragedy. A brief discussion of the textual transmission of Seneca’s play elucidates how Heywood may have come to reconfigure the tragic female Chorus as an anonymous framing voice sharing in authorial knowledge.
Keywords: Troas; Seneca; Jasper Heywood; rhyme royal
Copyright (c) 2021 Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
This Journal is a CC-BY 4.0 publication (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This Licence allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this Journal, providing a link to the Licence and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author retains (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for any purpose; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorise others to make any use of the Article so long as the Author receives credit as Author and the Journal in which the Article has been published are cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, the Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
- The Author is free to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the Journal’s published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this Journal and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author is permitted and encouraged to post their work online after the evaluation process has been successfully passed, as it can lead to productive exchanges as well as to a wider dissemination of the published work.