England's poet laureate Ted Hughes first turned his hand to Ovid's Metamorphoses
when he--along with other prominent English-language poets such as Seamus Heaney
, Amy Clampitt
, and Charles Simic
--contributed poems to the anthology After Ovid
. In the three years following After Ovid
's publication, Hughes continued working with the Metamorphoses
, eventually completing the 24 translations collected here. Culling from 250 original tales, Hughes has chosen some of the most violent and disturbing narratives Ovid wrote, including the stories of Echo and Narcissus, Bacchus and Pentheus, and Semele's rape by Jove. Classical purists may be offended at the occasional liberties Hughes takes with Ovid's words, but no one will quarrel with the force and originality of Hughes's verse, or with its narrative skill. This translation is an unusual triumph--a work informed by the passion and wit of Ovid, yet suffused with Hughes's own distinctive poetic sensibility.
From Library Journal
Hughes, the renowned author of innumerable works of poetry, prose, and children's literature and currently the poet laureate of England, offers a lively, readable, rendering of 24 tales from Ovid's Metamorphosis. The translations are unrhymed poems in their own right, but this collection is most welcome for making the most popular book of the classical era?a veritable source-book for writers during the Middle Ages, not to mention Chaucer and Shakespeare?so pleasantly accessible to the general reader. A fine addition to all libraries; highly recommended.?Thomas F. Merrill, Univ. of Delaware, Newark
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