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Metamorphoses by Ovid


by Ovid

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The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Literally translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes and Explanations. [Bohn's Classical Library]
  petralex | Oct 23, 2018 |
“God himself helps those who dare.”

in "Metamorphoses (Norton Critical Edition)" by Ovid (Author), Charles Martin (Translator)

When I think on Ovid and Shakespeare, my own poetic streak resurfaces. Read at your own peril (word of warning: If you don't know either your Shakespeare or your Ovid, what follows won't make much sense):

Sentenced to exile! - be seated-
Let me roll back the years-
(Please lend me your ears)-
And give me the closure I've needed.

Brooding in sorrow? - a bit-
Denuded of gladness,
Heart-sated by sadness,
For a crime that I didn't commit-

A knock at the door - o, the terror-
I did nothing wrong!-
Just a lapse and a song
(In the Latin, John - carmen et error).

Mid-production, summarily forced
To abandon the Fasti,
And make tracks to the Black Sea,
My licence to scribble endorsed,

And shorn of my access to libraries-
Surrounded by Trolls-
But - where are the scrolls?-
Ditto, likewise, writers' rivalries.

A résumé! All that I writ!
That's a splendid idea
(Send it c/o Crimea)
Though I s'ppose that I'd have to admit

That folks tend to prefer - sob - the early stuff-
Which makes common sense,
As years now from hence
That's where you should find all the dirty stuff.

This is one of those canonical book I'd never read until now. Every time someone asked me whether I'd read it, I 'd say, "Ovid? I'd be livid. Avoid it or the void beckons. Have instead ovoid object for breakfast." Only after having "finished" my Shakespeare Journey I became avid about reading Ovid. Fervid even. It all seemed so vivid to me. But I was livid when I found out that the video had killed the Ovidian star...

NB: I’m not qualified enough to write on Ovid...Maybe when I’m as old as dirt I’ll be able to...But if you ever read my stuff on Shakespeare, I think everything on Ovid is already said and done. ( )
  antao | Aug 21, 2018 |
History of the world ( )
  margaretfield | May 30, 2018 |
Short version: loved the writing, got a bit worn out by the subject matter.

Ovid is one of the great writers of Western literature and that's pretty obvious from reading The Metamorphoses. I don't know how well Allen Mandelbaum's translation conveys the original Latin, but I enjoyed it. J.C. McKeown's introduction was enough to orient me to the poem and give it some historical context without being overwhelming. (FYI for those who care: beyond that introduction and an afterword in the Everyman's Library edition, there are no other explanatory notes.)

I have a lifelong interest in Greek and Roman mythology and many of these stories were not new to me—and many of them were, and that was wonderful. I appreciated Ovid's ability to pull all these stories together (Wikipedia helpfully tells me that there are more than 250 myths involved) into one narrative, with stories nested within other stories. Many retellings of myths focus on plot rather than character: A happened, then B happened, and it ended at C. Ovid gives the characters time to reflect on their desires or actions, to waver in their decisions, to almost save themselves. Even as I was figuratively glaring at Juno while she plotted the destruction of still yet another of Jove's victims/lovers, I enjoyed seeing her point of view.

But, well, it's over 500 pages of stories with mostly unhappy endings. Very few people are changed into something else except as a punishment. Love, for so many of the gods and men, was interchangeable with rape. Even when a couple found mutual love, it often ended in death or unwanted transformation. None of this was new to me; it was just wearying reading so much of it at once. So while I loved this book, it'll be a while before I consider rereading it. ( )
  Silvernfire | Mar 4, 2018 |
The half star missing in this review is a self rebuke, rather than any problem with the work. I feel, with every word that I read, the lack of ability to read the original. This is a wonderful translation, thankfully offered in sympathetic text, rather than cod rhyme but, the original must be so much better.

Having showed my ignorance, let's get back to the book itself: this is an amazing collection of stories; some new to me and many the prototypes for stories made popular by later authors. There is an early version of Romeo and Juliet, Icarus' forbear and many others that have echoes in more modern fables.

I find it intriguing how the gods are worshipped, but often not respected by their acolytes. Gods are cruel, vain but unbeatable. There is not a single story in which the gods come off worse, at the hands of humanity, although, there are occasions whereby a higher god takes pity and issues retribution for cruelty (not that many cases admittedly).

Now all I need to do is learn to read ancient Greek poetry, and I'll be able to appreciate Ovid to the full. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Dec 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (753 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ovidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dryden, JohnTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anguillara, Giovanni Andrea dell'Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ehwald, RudolfEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garth, Sir SamuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gay, ZhenyaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golding, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gregory, HoraceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hane-Scheltema, M. d'Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haupt, MorizEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humphries, RolfeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Innes, M. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korn, OttoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mandelbaum, AllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Müller, Hermann JohannesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Frank JustusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parramon i Blasco, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tissol, GarthIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vondel, Joost van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This translation of Ovid's seamless song
is inscribed to my brother in law and in love,
Leonard Feldman, and my sister, Rayma.
First words
Now I shall tell you of things that change, new being / Out of old: since you, O Gods, created / Mutable arts and gifts, give me the voice / To tell the shifting story of the world / From its beginning to the present hour.
My purpose is to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of a different kind. You heavenly powers, since you were responsible for those changes, as for all else, look favourably on my attempts, and spin an unbroken thread of verse, from the earliest beginnings of the world, down to my own times. [Mary M. Innes translation, Penguin Books, 1955]
My soul would sing of metamorphoses.
(Tr. Allan Mandelbaum)
My mind would tell of forms changed into new bodies;  gods, into my undertakings (for you changed even those) breathe life and from the first origin of the world to my own times draw forth a perpetual song!
(Tr. Z Philip Ambrose)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014044789X, Paperback)

Ovid’s sensuous and witty poem brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation—often as a result of love or lust—where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best-known myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy. Erudite but light-hearted, dramatic and yet playful, the Metamorphoses has influenced writers and artists throughout the centuries from Shakespeare and
Titian to Picasso and Ted Hughes.

Includes introduction, a preface to each book, explanatory notes, and an index of people, gods, and places

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A new translation in hexameter verse of Ovid's narrative poem embraces more than two hundred mythical tales linked by the theme of transformation, incorporating many famed myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome.

» see all 23 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044789X, 0140422307

Indiana University Press

An edition of this book was published by Indiana University Press.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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