Metamorphoses

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Indiana University Press, 1955 - Poetry - 401 pages
2 Reviews

"The Metamorphoses of Ovid offers to the modern world such a key to the literary and religious culture of the ancients that it becomes an important event when at last a good poet comes up with a translation into English verse." —John Crowe Ransom

"... a charming and expert English version, which is right in tone for the Metamorphoses." —Francis Fergusson

"This new Ovid, fresh and faithful, is right for our time and should help to restore a great reputation." —Mark Van Doren

The first and still the best modern verse translation of the Metamorphoses, Humphries' version of Ovid's masterpiece captures its wit, merriment, and sophistication.

Everyone will enjoy this first modern translation by an American poet of Ovid's great work, the major treasury of classical mythology, which has perennially stimulated the minds of men. In this lively rendering there are no stock props of the pastoral and no literary landscaping, but real food on the table and sometimes real blood on the ground.

Not only is Ovid's Metamorphoses a collection of all the myths of the time of the Roman poet as he knew them, but the book presents at the same time a series of love poems—about the loves of men, women, and the gods. There are also poems of hate, to give the proper shading to the narrative. And pervading all is the writer's love for this earth, its people, its phenomena.

Using ten-beat, unrhymed lines in his translation, Rolfe Humphries shows a definite kinship for Ovid's swift and colloquial language and Humphries' whole poetic manner is in tune with the wit and sophistication of the Roman poet.

 

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Contents

BOOK ONE
6
BOOK TWO
28
BOOK THREE
57
book four
81
BOOK FIVE
108
BOOK SIX
129
BOOK SEVEN
153
BOOK EIGHT
181
BOOK NINE
209
BOOK TEN
234
BOOK ELEVEN
259
BOOK TWELVE
285
BOOK THIRTEEN
305
BOOK FOURTEEN
338
BOOK FIFTEEN
365
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About the author (1955)

Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC--AD 17/18), known as Ovid. Born of an equestrian family in Sulmo, Ovid was educated in rhetoric in Rome but gave it up for poetry. He counted Horace and Propertius among his friends and wrote an elegy on the death of Tibullus. He became the leading poet of Rome but was banished in 8 A.D. by an edict of Augustus to remote Tomis on the Black Sea because of a poem and an indiscretion. Miserable in provincial exile, he died there ten years later. His brilliant, witty, fertile elegiac poems include Amores (Loves), Heroides (Heroines), and Ars Amatoris (The Art of Love), but he is perhaps best known for the Metamorphoses, a marvelously imaginative compendium of Greek mythology where every story alludes to a change in shape. Ovid was admired and imitated throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson knew his works well. His mastery of form, gift for narration, and amusing urbanity are irresistible.

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