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Metamorphoses, the best-known poem by one of the wittiest poets of classical antiquity, takes as its theme change and transformation, as illustrated by Greco-Roman myth and legend. Melville's new translation reproduces the grace and fluency of Ovid's style, and its modern idiom offers a fresh understanding of Ovid's unique and elusive vision of reality.

The Metamorphoses, written in dactylic hexameters, appeared when Ovid was 52 years old. "My mind is intent on singing of shapes changed into new bodies," he wrote in it. The title was a Greek word meaning 'changes of shape'. Its fifteen books dealt with mythological, legendary, and historical figures and recorded the history of the world from chaos to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar and the reign of Augustus. Hexameter, familiar to Ovid from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid. Characteristic of the epic is the view of the unpredictable nature of things and the instability of the forms of nature. Starting from Heraclitus's "all things flow, nothing abides," the idea that everything always changes was an essential part of Greek thought, and a driving force in the history of the expansive Roman Empire. In the Metamorphoses men are transformed into women and vice versa; stones become people; a statue is changed into a woman; a girl becomes a laurel tree, Neptune changes into a fierce-looking ox.

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Metamorphoses, the best-known poem by one of the wittiest poets of classical antiquity, takes as its theme change and transformation, as illustrated by Greco-Roman myth and legend. Melville's new translation reproduces the grace and fluency of Ovid's style, and its modern idiom offers a fresh understanding of Ovid's unique and elusive vision of reality.

The Metamorphoses, written in dactylic hexameters, appeared when Ovid was 52 years old. "My mind is intent on singing of shapes changed into new bodies," he wrote in it. The title was a Greek word meaning 'changes of shape'. Its fifteen books dealt with mythological, legendary, and historical figures and recorded the history of the world from chaos to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar and the reign of Augustus. Hexameter, familiar to Ovid from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid. Characteristic of the epic is the view of the unpredictable nature of things and the instability of the forms of nature. Starting from Heraclitus's "all things flow, nothing abides," the idea that everything always changes was an essential part of Greek thought, and a driving force in the history of the expansive Roman Empire. In the Metamorphoses men are transformed into women and vice versa; stones become people; a statue is changed into a woman; a girl becomes a laurel tree, Neptune changes into a fierce-looking ox. More...

 
    Ovid, Roman Poet
  Ovid, Roman Poet
Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for collections of love poetry in elegiac couplets, es...
 
       
 
         
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