Tales From Ovid

Tales From Ovid

Book - 1997
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Baker & Taylor
The Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II renders twenty-four stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses, which follows the transformations suffered by the figures of classical mythology, into clear, emphatic English verse, accompanied by a brief introduction.

& Taylor

Twenty-four stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses tell of the effects of passion on such mythological figures as Bacchus, Venus, Hercules, and Narcissus

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374228415
Branch Call Number: 873.01 Ov
Characteristics: x, 257 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Hughes, Ted 1930-1998
Alternative Title: The metamorphoses


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Oct 09, 2018

I decided to read this book by book in parallel with Mary M. Innes' translation of Metamophoses. Innes' rather sober prose probably sticks close to the original, thereby providing a baseline of sorts against which to assess Hughes' fanciful (but far more entertaining) verse. Hughes has taken great liberties with Ovid but given the far-fetched nature of the legends to begin with, I feel that he's entitled to do so. Moreover, it's likely that Ovid himself was extemporizing on tales from a variety of sources. Hughes takes the process a bit further, somewhat in the manner of a talented actor treating his script as just a point of departure and proceeding to inundate his audience with a free-form series of rhapsodic "variations on a theme". Given the vast number of stories to be found in the 15 books, Hughes was obliged to be selective in what he chose to include in this collection. He starts off with 4 stories from Book 1 but from that point onward he extracts vignettes from 12 different books, in no particular order. In each case, he illuminates his offerings with his own wit, arresting anachronisms — and in places sheer whimsy.
When he seizes upon the tale of Bacchus' confrontation with Penthius, King of Thebes, he really gets the creative bit planted firmly in his teeth, spinning off into an extended dithyramb {how many years have I waited for an opportunity to use THAT word in a sentence!} of his own devising. Great fun!

Aug 13, 2012

Wonderful book for lovers of mythology


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