Ovid's Metamorphoses gains its ideal twenty-first-century herald in Stanley Lombardo's bracing translation of a wellspring of Western art and literature that is too often treated, even by poets, as a mere vehicle for the scores of myths it recasts and transmits rather than as a unified work of art with epic-scale ambitions of its own. Such misconceptions are unlikely to survive a reading of Lombardo's rendering, which vividly mirrors the brutality, sadness, comedy, irony, tenderness, and eeriness of Ovid's vast world as well as the poem's effortless pacing. Under Lombardo's spell, neither Argus nor anyone else need fear nodding off. The translation is accompanied by an exhilarating Introduction by W. R. Johnson that unweaves and reweaves many of the poem's most important themes while showing how the poet achieves some of his most brilliant effects. An analytical table of contents, a catalog of transformations, and a glossary are also included.
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 the 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 lost forever — and with them, a vast and valuable amount of Greco-Roman culture. This collection of the poet's best and most beloved narrative verses reflects the vitality of classical mythology. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
"A version that has been long awaited, and likely to become the new standard."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Ovid's epic poem—whose theme of change has resonated throughout the ages—is one of the most important texts of Western imagination, an inspiration from Dante's times to the present day, when writers such as Salman Rushdie and Italo Calvino have found a living source in Ovid's work. Charles Martin combines a close fidelity to Ovid's text with verse that catches the speed and liveliness of the original. Martin's Metamorphoses will be the translation of choice for contemporary readers in English. This volume also includes endnotes and a glossary of people, places, and personifications.
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