Ovid Selected Works

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Read Books, Jan 1, 2006 - Fiction - 448 pages
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The compilers, J.C and M.J. Thornton, have used the translations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which they believe render more faithfully than those of any other age the even clarity of Ovid's style. The volume commences with Marlowe's free translation of The Elegies, which has a youthful zest about it that might well have saved it from oblivion even without Marlowe's later fame. Next comes The Letters of the Heroines, translated by George Turberville, followed by Francis Wolferton's rendering of the three books of The Art of Love, which has had few translators. Wolferston's version is here revised and presented in a way that does not seek to bowdlerize the serious purpose of the book, while retaining the polite urbanity of the original. Arthur Golding's version of The Metamorphoses, which conveys in the swing of the lines and vividness of the language the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the translation, is also included and reminds one that Shakespeare plucked his 'odoriferous flowers of fancy' from its pages. Other selections from this very representative volume include John Gower's translation of The Festivals, Zachary Caitlin's, John Gower's, and Wye Saltonstall's Letters from Exile, and Thomas Underdown's Invective against Ibis.

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About the author (2006)

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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