Tales From Ovid

Tales From Ovid

Book - 1999
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A powerful version of the Latin classic by England's late Poet Laureate, now in paperback.When it was published in 1997, Tales from Ovid was immediately recognized as a classic in its own right, as the best rering of Ovid in generations, and as a major book in Ted Hughes's oeuvre. The Metamorphoses of Ovid stands with the works of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton as a classic of world poetry; Hughes translated twenty-four of its stories with great power and directness. The result is the liveliest twentieth-century version of the classic, at once a delight for the Latinist and an appealing introduction to Ovid for the general reader.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999
Edition: First paperback edition
ISBN: 9780374525873
Branch Call Number: 873.01 Ov4A 1999
Characteristics: x, 257 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Hughes, Ted 1930-1998


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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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