- Series: Oxford World's Classics
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 23, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019283472X
- ISBN-13: 978-0192834720
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
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"Notes are very helpful indeed."--L. Cahoon, Gettysburg College
"Of the English translations now available, Melville's new version is the only that reproduces the grace, speed, and nervous tension of Ovid's original. It is a rare achievement."--Richard P. Martin, Princeton University
"An excellent translation, elegant and accurate."--Simone Turbeville, University of Texas, Arlington
"Melville has chosen blank verse, pleasantly varied by rhymed couplets to round off each sequence. His narrative is taut...his vocabulary vivid and flexible, his speeches pungent or powerful, and his command of wit a delight."--Classical Review
"If Ovid wanted to read himself in English, he should certainly be happy with Melville's translation, which eloquently captures a great deal of his urbanity, wit, and sentiment in an expressive blank verse that is itself a bit of a wonder."--Thomas Clayton, Chairman, University of Minnesota
"The translation is readable and tells the tales with charm, and the notes are truly excellent."--Carol R. Hershenson, Xavier University
"Excellent poetic rendition, at reasonable price. Thank you. I shall order a whole library of Oxford World's Classics."--Dr. Barbara Huval, Lamar University
"Reads compellingly--as Ovid should. Students enjoy [this work] greatly."--Ann Lauinger, Sarah Lawrence College
"I like this translation very much. I used it this semester and will continue to use it."--Gregory M. Malion, University of New Hampshire
"I shall regularly adopt this edition to use in my mythology class. It is the best paperback edition around: readable translations, episodes have titles, glossary and original line numbers on top of page."--Cliff Brockman, St. John Fisher College
About the Author
Publius Ovidius Naso, a Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid, wrote on topics of love, abandoned women, and mythological transformations. Ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature, Ovid was generally considered the greatest master of the elegiac couplet.
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Top customer reviews
Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, it is possible to get a word-by-word translation/dictionary online at the Perseus/Tufts project, which, even if you have had only a year or so of Latin, is well worth having with you alongside a translation. Check it out!
Ovid's scenes are beautifully woven: the rhetorics and structures, usually borrowed from existing stories, are clever, and the characters live and breathe. Although the effects of the many cross-currents among god and mortal, creature and nature, etcetera are, at least superficially, those of wild fantasy and myth, examples of the poet's subtle-yet-overriding Logoi can be found in passages like Narcissus and Echo, Tiresias and Pyramus and Thisbe, where the action seems as much fated and rational as ridiculous. That is, Ovid employs artifice wherein one conceit mirrors and affects another (and yet another and another and so on) in clear, logical fashion. For example:
When Apollo wielded his bow, writes Ovid, "He drew two arrows of opposing power./ One shaft that rouses love and one that routs it." Or when describing anthropomorphic pathos of nature and earth, the artist suggests, "Then hungry nature lacking nourishment/ Will faint and, starving, starve her furnaces." This inspired language is masterfully rendered by Melville, who likes to end passages with rhymed couplets like: "And in its stead they found a flower--behold/ White petals clustered round a cup of gold!"
Unlike so many contemporary translators, Melville is after more than mere information and "accuracy" here. He's striving for fidelity to the original, Latin text vis-à-vis the reader's experience, and with the help of E. J. Kenney's useful--if too short--introduction and the book's copious endnotes, I feel the effort yields success. Compared with Mandelbaum's disappointing The Metamorphoses of Ovid, an overly bland and technical piece for someone who displayed such remarkable prowess in The Aeneid of Virgil (Bantam Classics), this Oxford edition transcends and entertains.
As it should, too, because Metamorphoses is great fun. So much so, it inspired a school-aged bard six centuries later.