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February 6

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Recent Arrivals: The Metamorphoses by Ovid

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Metamorphoses by Ovid

The Metamorphoses Selected Stories in Verse by Ovid

First line: Apollo, fresh from slaying the Python with [...]

Initial thoughts: A lover of Greek and Roman mythology I am. It’s been a while since I’ve read some classic mythologies and I figured it was time.

Although I’ve studied a few different texts on the subject, I wasn’t properly acquainted with the works of Ovid.

For the price ($3US @ Amazon) and selection (I have an especially weak spot for the stories of Apollo & Daphne, Pygmalion, and Orpheus & Eurydice), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read some of his verses and compare and contrast them with my other collections.

The Metamorphoses (in entirety), along with many other classics, is available for download from Project Gutenberg, however, I decided to get a bound copy because I wanted to compare the various translations. Plus, I loved the cover.

Book description:

One of ancient Rome’s most celebrated poets, Ovid (43 B.C.–A.D. 18) wrote during the reign of Augustus. His works reflect a sentiment of art for pleasure’s sake, without ethical or moral overtones, which perhaps accounts for his enduring popularity. For more than two thousand years, readers have delighted in Ovid’s playful eloquence; his influence on other writers has ranged from Dante and Chaucer to Shakespeare and Milton, and scenes from his stories have inspired many great works by Western artists.

This selection of thirty stories from the verse translation by F. A. Wright of Ovid’s famous work, The Metamorphoses, does full justice to the poet’s elegance and wit. All of the tales involve a form of metamorphosis, or transformation, and are peopled by mythological gods, demigods, and mortals: Venus and Adonis, Pygmalion, Apollo and Daphne, Narcissus, Perseus and Andromeda, Orpheus and Eurydice, the Cyclops, and Circe, among others.

Although most of the stories did not originate with Ovid, it is quite possible that had he not written them down, these oral traditions would have been forever lost–and with them, a vast and valuable amount of Greco-Roman culture. This collection of the poet’s best and most beloved narrative verses reflect the vitality of classical mythology.

Book Details: 126 pages; Dover; Pub. May 2003

Comments on Recent Arrivals: The Metamorphoses by Ovid

  1. # She wrote on February 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm:

    Yay for Ovid! I have to read it for my mythology class this semester, and am super stoked for it. Have you ever read Hesiod?
    .-= She´s last blog ..The Painted Veil – W. Somerset Maugham =-.

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on February 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm:

    I’m jealous. I want to take a mythology class.

    Will you be using Metamorphoses? Which translation will you guys be using? So far, I have problems with this one–not big ones, but problems nonetheless. (And I’m realizing that I’m more acquainted with Ovid than I previously thought. LOL)

    Hesiod doesn’t ring a bell for me, but it may be a case like Ovid. Lost in the memory bank until I come across something that makes the light bulb flicker.

  3. # Sunday Sketch 1.1: Daphne - Today, I Read… wrote on February 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm:

    [...] “More would he say; but lo, the timid maid/ Fled from his side and left the words unsaid/ Yet even then she seemed surpassing fair/ As the soft breeze showed all her body bare,/ With garments fluttering in the wanton wind,/ Her hair unbound and streaming loose behind.” (pg. 5 Metamorphoses Selected Stories in Verse) [...]

  4. # She wrote on February 9, 2010 at 12:14 am:

    Yes, we will, but I think later in the semester. We’re using the David Raeburn translation from Penguin Classics. I haven’t started it, so I can’t say anything more about it, lol. It does have a picture of the statue of Daphne and Apollo on the cover though :D
    .-= She´s last blog ..Book of a Thousand Days – Shannon Hale =-.

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