The Metamorphoses of Ovid

The Metamorphoses of Ovid

Book - 1994
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The mark of success in a poet's career, writes David Slavitt, was an epic that might stand on the shelf alongside Virgil's. But how was a poet like Ovid, with a more intimate, livelier, funnier and more self-mocking sensibility, to attempt such a thing? The epic form was not, I think, immediately congenital, and my guess is that Ovid recognized this himself. Accordingly, he transformed the epic, playing against its grain a lot of the time, and escaping its severe organizational and thematic demands by transforming it into something altogether different. The first metamorphosis, then, is of the idea of the epic itself.
Publisher: Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1994
ISBN: 9780801847981
0801847982
Branch Call Number: 873.01/OVI
Additional Contributors: Slavitt, David R. 1935-

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wyenotgo
Oct 02, 2018

I was about to dive into Michael Hofmann's "After Ovid: New Metamorphoses" but before doing so, I thought it prudent to read a complete translation of the original, since many years have passed since I read Books 6, 10, 11 and 12 and I'm no longer sure that I ever did work my way through the entire set. At first reading, this particular translation (by Mary Innes) doesn't resonate with a lot of color but it seems to be scholarly and unpretentious, which is probably a good thing for my present purposes.
I would regard this translation as a good reference volume, covering the full range of the stories but the charm of Ovid's verse doesn't really shine through. Fortunately for all of us, poets, novelists, playwrights, librettists and composers of ballet have, over the centuries taken hundreds of these tales on a merry ride and adapted them to all manner of locales and time periods. The themes of envy, lust, chicanery and of course transformations of all kinds are timeless, lending themselves to limitless adaptations.

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TomLibrarian
Aug 04, 2012

The Metamorphoses or "Transformations" is an epic that is truly "epic" in scope, beginning with the creation of the universe and ending with the world of contemporary Rome. It is composed of a series of stories, Greek and Roman myths that Ovid shapes and weaves together into a continuous history of gods and humans. As the title announces, the central theme is one of constant change, and we see gods and humans amazingly transformed from one shape to another. The poem recasts and preserves most of the major Greek and Roman myths that are familiar to us, often in surprising ways. Ovid was known for his wit and cleverness, and in the poem he explores the nature of love, power, change, deception, the nature of art, and personal identity. He, like Virgil, also explores what it means to be Roman, but in a much more subversive way. Ovid's poetry was seen as so subversive, in fact, that the emperor Augustus exiled him to the town of Tomis on the Black Sea, where he continued to write, never to return to his beloved Rome. Annotation by Professor Wally Englert.

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Cabby
Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 1994 Pulitzer prize for poetry.

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