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Underdowne, Thomas


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Thomas Underdowne (1545/46–93), son and heir of Stephen Underdowne of Chiddingly, Sussex, was born in 1545 or 1546. According to Anthony a Wood he was educated at Oxford, but left without a degree; his familiarity with the classics certainly argues a university education. He was rector of two churches in Lewes, Sussex from 1580 until his death in 1593, where he was noted for his nonconformity ( Challen 1962 ; Goring 2003 ; Freeman 2004 ). Best known for his translation of the late classical author Heliodorus' recently rediscovered Greek prose romance Aethiopica (c.1569), which had a major impact on the literature of Renaissance England, Underdowne also wrote two other works inspired by the classics, both based on the writings of the Roman poet Ovid: The excellent historye of Theseus and Ariadne (1566/67) and Ovid his invective against Ibis (1569). Underdowne's first publication, Theseus and Ariadne , follows Ovid's Metamorphoses rather less closely than the numerous other translations of individual stories from the work published in the 1560s, expanding a dozen lines in the original into a poem of over 250 verses in fourteener couplets. In fact, Theseus and Ariadne owes as much, or more, to another Ovidian poem, the Heroides . The lament of Ariadne after being left behind on Naxos by Theseus at the end of the poem appears to have been inspired by the verse letter of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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