The fruitful and many-sided impact of Ovids imaginative tales of mythic metamorphoses on the literature of the English Renaissance has more than once been described in recent criticism. Sarah Carters review of the particular attraction to Elizabethans of Ovids rich treasure-house of alluring if not scandalous story material is chiefly informed by her interest in sexual deviance, defined by her as deviating from standard behavior or the correct path (p. 5), transgressing social, moral, or physical boundaries.
She finds this chiefly in Ovids Metamorphoses tales of Philomela, Hermaphroditus, Pygmalion, Myrrha and Adonis, as well as in the Rape of Lucrece, retold in the Fasti. The book offers a perceptive survey of Elizabethan versions of the Ovidian narratives of Philomela, Lucrece, Ganymede, Hermaphroditus, Pygmalion. Carter argues persuasively that the classical guise allowed Renaissance authors and readers, even the young and officially unspoiled novice, a much greater freedom of discourse than would normally have been permissible.