Focusing primarily on Thomas Goffe's 1618/9 university play, The Couragious Turke, and Thomas Heywood's popular cycle of five Age plays (c.1609-13), this article investigates early modern readings of ‘Homer' onstage – where Homer stands for text, character, source-material and critical authority. Traditionally dismissed as only superficially or remotely engaged with Homer's text, Goffe's and Heywood's Homeric stagings are considered here as significant commentaries on a period in which Homer's authority, and the battle for authority over Homer's text, is being vehemently contested. A proliferation of vernacular English books promoting humanist ideals collides, at this time, with the inherited medieval traditions of the consistently popular, yet vociferous ‘anti-Homeric', English Troy Books. The article contextualises Heywood's and Goffe's dramatic engagements with Homer and his Iliad against this wider literary backdrop. By explicitly playing with the audiences' awareness of competing versions and revisions, dramatically charged intertextual moments not only subvert the humanist ideal of a faithful reading of the Homeric text but also, crucially, assert the importance of such plays to the discussion of the reception of ancient Greek texts in early modern England.

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