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1. Introduction 2. Shakespeare and Sidney. Two worlds: the brazen and the golden 3. Shakespeare and Ovid: 'What strainèd touches rhetoric can lend': poetry metamorphosed in Venus and Adonis and the Sonnets 4. 'In scorn of nature, art gave lifeless life': exposing art's sterility. The Rape of Lucrece, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest 5. 'O'er-wrested seeming': dramatic illusion and the repudiation of mimesis: Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet 6. 'Thy registers and thee I both defy': history challenged: Richard III, Henry VIII, Henry V and Richard II 7. Antony and Cleopatra as 'A defence of drama'.