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The Art of Love (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – October 8, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Every age probably regards itself as unique in its sexual sophistication, and if we take Ovid as a typical spokesman we should have to conclude that the keynote of his age was elegance. . . . Ovid could not possibly have taken himself, nor be taken for, an Ancient.”—Rolfe Humphries

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation)
Original Language: Latin
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (October 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375761179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375761171
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A seemingly tongue-in-cheek imitation didactic poem on seduction and love-making. The poem reads like an instruction manual, but Ovid uses the form of a love poem and numerous digressions to enhance the humour. However, he does make some strong points about how both sexes use deception in courtship (a woman's pleasure adds to the overall enjoyment of love-making, etc.) making one think that he wanted to educate while deflecting criticism by taking the humourous approach. It didn't work, apparently, as he was soon aftewards exiled.

Regarding James Michie's translation - this is an excellent form for this work. The translation respects the form of the original poem without adhering so strictly as to loose the free-wheeling fun of the message. A highly desirable English edition of this ancient work.
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Format: Paperback
I read the Duane Humphries translation. His preface is superbly written, so one would hope that his translation possesses similar flair. Since I don't read Latin, I cannot attest to his accuracy.
He observes in his preface the commonalities between Ovid's scene and that of our contemporary world. You will get a strong sense of a society that was very similar to that of our own.
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Very interesting book. I am constantly surprised by how similar our society is to the ancient Rome. I didn't know it was printed in Latin on one page and English on the other, a pleasant surprise. Don't know much Latin, but good to have and fun to look over at the original once in a while.
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The version I read which was translated by Rolfe Humphries has an interesting introduction. It speaks about how this text could be treated as a 'How-To' book in the modern context. I can see his point since Robert Greene took a lot of inspiration from Ovid in his work The Art of Seduction. But just like Greene's modern rendition and Ovid's classic, this work is better read for fun. Those who read this and hope to become the next Don Juan will be mistaken. Ovid offers sound advice and the book reads like a charm. Read this for what it is and MAYBE some of the words will stick in your mind when you attempt your next conquest.
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This book is amazing. I absolutely love that it has the original Latin on the left pages. As one who has studied Latin for four years, this book is great. The translation is generally excellent, a nice balance of the literal language and Ovid/the translator's wit and poetry.
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Or at least, put it in a very positive way, that's what the smile on my face meant when I finished reading this beautiful piece written by Ovid during the first century A.D.; perhaps the "step by step" seduction handbook then and now, is even more remarkable by the fact that its wisdom applies the same in today's "complex" world.

The Art of Love or "Ars Amatoria" is no doubt the result of the life of a very well traveled and educated man, for he is one of those few who understands the ways (and mistery) of the feminine soul... by the same token, Ovid gives us both sides of the coin in this Roman's elegy: the ways of the male spirit in order to seduce women, and the step by step guide for women to seduce and keep men... in other words, there's nothing new under the sun, BUT, the ways we perceive and apply knowledge...
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Easily the most fascinating book to come out of antiquity. You come learn to realize just how little has changed.
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The original battle of the sexes or how to pick up men or women book.
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