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Ovid's Metamorphoses : The Arthur Golding Translation of 1567

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0966491319
ISBN-10: 0966491319
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

New publisher Paul Dry is starting out strong with this reprint of the 1965 volume edited by John Frederick Nims that is based on Arthur Golding's famous 1567 translation of Ovid's poetry. Golding's has been the favorite of writers and scholars the world over, including Shakespeare, who was a huge fan of his edition of Ovid. This version contains a new essay on Shakespeare and Ovid by scholar Jonathan Bate as well as notes and a glossary. Absolutely essential for academic collections, it will be an important addition to large public libraries as well.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Ovid was Shakespeare's favorite classical poet. Both are writers who probe our humanity with great rigor, but ultimately do so in a spirit of sympathy for our frailties and indulgences. Ovid's world shuttles between human passions and natural phenomena. Shakespeare, with the assistance of Arthur Golding, carried the magic of that world into the medium of theatre." -- From Jonathan Bate's Essay,

"[Golding's translation] was the English Ovid from the time of publication in 1567 until about a decade after the death of Shakespeare in 1616. The Ovid, that is, for all who read him in English during the greatest period of our literature. And its racy verve, its quirks and oddities, its rugged English gusto, is still more enjoyable, more plain fun to read, than any other Metamorphoses in English." -- From the Introduction by John Frederick Nims

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966491319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966491319
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By David Llewellyn on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Buy this book before it goes out of print for another thirty-five years!
If Golding's Ovid is not, "the most beautiful book in the language," it's among the top two-dozen "most beautiful books" you can find in English. I've searched for a second-hand copy of the 1965 Simon and Schuster edition since the late sixties, ever since I read Pound's ABC of Reading. I never had any luck finding it, though I did come across a non-circulating copy in a university library once. Its title page explained that only 2500 copies had been printed and that the previous edition -- the one Pound must have used -- was a small, deluxe Victorian production, itself unattainable by 1965.
After all my years lurking in second-hand bookshops, Paul Dry Books has finally done the decent and brought Golding's Ovid out again, this time as a beautifully printed, well-bound, but inexpensive paperback. I grabbed up my copy at first sight.
Is this an "accurate" translation of Ovid? As a previous reviewer has said, if you really want accuracy, you should read Ovid in Latin and leave the wild Elizabethan translators alone. Unlike that reviewer though, I'd say that, if you want Ovid in perfectly accurate modern English, with his poetry and voice included, you should read him in Mandelbaum's beautifully rendered version; but if you want an accurate modern English translation -- the type of thing your Latin prof would give you excellent marks for -- then read him in Melville's able, though sometimes sightly flat translation.
But if you love Elizabethan literature, then you should read Golding. You read his Ovid for the ripe, quirky, full-on Elizabethan English, deployed in his long, rambling fourteeners.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By No DRM on August 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'd like my review to correct what seems to be an over-hasty, unreflective lionization of Golding's translation by the other reviewers. Yes, it is a "great translation," in the sense that Marlowe's translations from Latin are, or Motteaux' Don Quixote is, or Pope's Iliad, or Robert Lowell's Imitations, or Pound's Chinese "translations," or even Ted Hughes' Tales From Ovid: that is, it is an powerful, compelling, wholly literary work in its own right, but it is nowhere near the original in terms of accuracy. The Latinless reader would do much better to buy Melville's excellent Oxford translation (which lacks nothing in poetic splendor) or perhaps Allen Mandelbaum's. As for the poetic "quality" of Golding's verse, that's of course subjective, but I could easily think of at least ten Elizabethan poets who are more satisfying to my taste. Golding's chief literary interest, as Nims points out, is his absolutely odd-ball English; attentive readers will find him a veritable storehouse of strange, funny, quaint Elizabethanisms that didn't quite make it into Shakespeare or the other mainstream writers of the period. (Much of the same joy can be found in Chapman's marvelous translations of Homer, reprinted by Princeton.) And the much-quoted Pound maxim comes from his wonderfully cantankerous ABC of Reading, certainly a fascinating book, but one in which Pound indulges in various critical pronouncements that seem, at times, merely whimsical or rhetorical. Much of Golding is rough, much dull, much of its interest is linguistic rather than poetic. He also adds a lot to round off his fourteeners (which I can't imagine are palatable to most readers for long stretches): his additions are fun, but they're not Ovid.Read more ›
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By R.W.H. on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Doing research on what Shakespeare would have had access to in English, this Golding addition is perfect. I suspect WS also had some experience with a latin version during his time at the Guild School. In any case, this used copy came in pristine condition and exactly as promised... so I'm very pleased.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ChristineEllenNYC on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Llewelyn is correct that people who are interested in the early modern period,and Shakespeare, will want to snap up this edition while it's available. I'm glad to be able to have this in my library, so that I can read the translation that was most popular during Shakespeare's career.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CHIENKANG TSENG on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arthur Golding's English Metamorphoses IS the definite Ovid. Besides, anybody who wants to master Early Modern English has to read this classic, both as a work of translation and an artistic piece in itself...Thomas Tseng, Taiwan
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful By newton fisher on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
A wonderful work of the imagination disassembles to a pit off cess when mundanely told. If one is seeking word - for - word accuracy in a translation, pass on, but if you seek the bowels of OVID but lack skill in Latin, as I do, tarry. If Pound's translation of CAVALCANTI and DANIEL `tickle your gizzard' this edition is sure to do so also. This translation is to others what a live performance of a Bach Concerto is to the drone in a bus depot. And who cares the translator. They are safely dead, anyway, and "One graveyard is as good as another if your dead." [Hemingway]
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