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Abandoned Women
Rewriting the Classics in Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer
Suzanne Hagedorn
University of Michigan Press, 2003
Medievalists have long been interested in the "abandoned woman," a figure historically used to examine the value of traditional male heroism. Moving beyond previous studies which have focused primarily on Virgil's Dido, Suzanne Hagedorn focuses on the vernacular works of Dante, Bocaccio, and Chaucer, arguing that revisiting the classical tradition of the abandoned woman enables one to reconsider ancient epics and myths from a female perspective and question assumptions about gender roles in medieval literature.
 
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Antiquarian Voices
The Roman Academy and the Commentary Tradition on Ovid's Fasti
Angela Fritsen
The Ohio State University Press, 2015
Ovid’s Fasti, his poem on the Roman calendar, became especially influential during the fifteenth century as a guide to classical Roman culture. Ovid’s treatment of mythological and astronomical lore, his investigation of anniversaries and customs, and his charting of monuments and history offered humanist poets and intellectuals an abundance of material to unravel. They could identify with Ovid as vates operosus, or hard-working seer–poet, suggesting both researcher and inspired authority.
 
Angela Fritsen’s Antiquarian Voices:The Roman Academy and the Commentary Tradition on Ovid’s Fasti offers the first study of the Renaissance exegesis and imitation of Ovid as antiquarian. Fritsen analyzes the Fasti commentaries by Paolo Marsi (1440–1484) and Antonio Costanzi (1436–1490) as well as the connections between the two works. It situates Ovidian Fasti studies in the Roman Academy under the mentorship of Pomponio Leto. Nowhere could the investigation of the Fasti be carried out better than in Rome. The humanists had a guide to the City in Ovid. They also regarded the Fasti as well suited to the ideology of the ancient Roman imperium’s renewal in modern papal Rome.
 
Antiquarian Voices illustrates how in reviving the Fasti, the humanists returned Rome to its original splendor. The book demonstrates that the humanists were eager to relate the Fasti to their antiquarian pursuits—as well as to their rising personal fame.
 
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Appendix Ovidiana
Latin Poems Ascribed to Ovid in the Middle Ages
Ralph Hexter
Harvard University Press, 2020

When does imitation of an author morph into masquerade? Although the Roman writer Ovid died in the first century CE, many new Latin poems were ascribed to him from the sixth until the fifteenth century. Like the Appendix Vergiliana, these verses reflect different understandings of an admired Classical poet and expand his legacy throughout the Middle Ages.

The works of the “medieval Ovid” mirror the dazzling variety of their original. The Appendix Ovidiana includes narrative poetry that recounts the adventures of both real and imaginary creatures, erotic poetry that wrestles with powerful desires and sexual violence, and religious poetry that—despite the historical Ovid’s paganism—envisions the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.

This is the first comprehensive collection and English translation of these pseudonymous medieval Latin poems.

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Art of Love. Cosmetics. Remedies for Love. Ibis. Walnut-tree. Sea Fishing. Consolation
Ovid
Harvard University Press, 1979

Seductive verse.

Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC–AD 17), born at Sulmo, studied rhetoric and law at Rome. Later he did considerable public service there, and otherwise devoted himself to poetry and to society. Famous at first, he offended the emperor Augustus by his Ars amatoria, and was banished because of this work and some other reason unknown to us, and dwelt in the cold and primitive town of Tomis on the Black Sea. He continued writing poetry, a kindly man, leading a temperate life. He died in exile.

Ovid’s main surviving works are the Metamorphoses, a source of inspiration to artists and poets including Chaucer and Shakespeare; the Fasti, a poetic treatment of the Roman year of which Ovid finished only half; the Amores, love poems; the Ars amatoria, not moral but clever and in parts beautiful; Heroides, fictitious love letters by legendary women to absent husbands; and the dismal works written in exile: the Tristia, appeals to persons including his wife and also the emperor; and similar Epistulae ex Ponto. Poetry came naturally to Ovid, who at his best is lively, graphic and lucid.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid is in six volumes.

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The Booke of Ovyde Named Methamorphose
William Caxton
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2013

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DESIRING ROME
MALE SUBJECTIVITY AND READING OVID'S FASTI
RICHARD KING
The Ohio State University Press, 2006
During his last two decades (ca. 2 BCE–17 CE), Ovid composed, but never completed, his Fasti, an elegiac representation of Rome’s rites and festivals: only six of twelve month-books remain. Earlier scholars have claimed that this is due either to Ovid’s exile from Rome (which put him out of touch with the Roman literary world) or else his frustration over the Roman calendar’s discontinuity. Drawing upon recent scholarship in gender studies and Lacanian film theory, Richard J. King analyzes this exilic incompletion as inviting the citizen male reader into what he calls an “angular” or “skewed” viewpoint, which interrogates the Roman hierarchical and male-dominated social order, insofar as it is mirrored in the Roman calendar of rites and festivals.  Ovid (already well known and even infamous as the composer of erotic poems and the Metamorphoses) does this by emulating the civic gesture of “calendar presentation,” whereby upwardly mobile adult male citizens caused calendars to be carved in stone and set up in conspicuous public places to reflect the city’s pride and to build their own prestige as public figures. In this innovative study, King discusses the Fasti as Ovid’s socially strategic use of this gesture. Interrupted by exile and filled with varying explanations of Roman festivals, Ovid’s poetic version manifests a form whose brokenness comments on the fractured identity of the exiled poet and citizen subjects generally in an imperial order ambivalent toward its greatest poet.
     Desiring Rome expands upon recent recognition of the Fasti’s centrality to early imperial politics by situating the poem’s “failure” within broader negotiations of identity between early imperial citizen-subjects and the cultural ideology of Roman manhood.
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Falling in Love with Statues
Artificial Humans from Pygmalion to the Present
George L. Hersey
University of Chicago Press, 2009
If, as a child, you conducted conversations with beloved dolls, or if, as an adult, you have entered virtual worlds inhabited by digital humans who inspire devotion in real people, you have participated in one of humanity’s most potent yet least explored traditions. Falling in love (and out of love) with statues, George Hersey reveals here, has been an instrumental practice since antiquity in our efforts to understand, improve, and empower ourselves.
            Hersey’s history of statue love begins in Cyprus, home of the legendary sculptor Pygmalion, who famously grew enamored of his own creation. Examining the island’s prehistoric images of Aphrodite—the love goddess who brought Pygmalion’s sculpture to life—Hersey traces the origins of statue love back to the Cypriot followers who adored her terra-cotta likenesses. He goes on to explore ideas about human replicas in the works of Empedocles, Aristotle, Lucretius, and Ovid, whose definitive account of the Pygmalion myth introduced the notion that statues have the potential to induce physical responses in their viewers. Finding avatars of Ovid’s living image in everything from pagan idols and early Christian statuary to eighteenth-century painting to modern action figures and marionettes, Hersey concludes by investigating the concern that these automata will eventually replace humans.
            In the process, he narrates a powerful history of artificial life at a moment when—with the development of robot soldiers, ever more sophisticated genetic engineering, and a continually expanding digital universe—it seems more real than ever.
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Harmful Eloquence
Ovid's Amores from Antiquity to Shakespeare
M. L. Stapleton
University of Michigan Press, 1996
M. L . Stapleton's Harmful Eloquence: Ovid's "Amores" from Antiquity to Shakespeare traces the influence of the early elegiac poetry of Ovid (43 b.c.e.-17 c.e.) on European literature from 500-1600 c.e. The Amores served as a classical model for love poetry in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and were essential to the formation of fin' Amors, or "courtly love." Medieval Latin poets, the troubadours, Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare were all familiar with Ovid in his various forms, and all depended greatly upon his Amores in composing their cansos, canzoniere, and sonnets.
Harmful Eloquence begins with a detailed analysis of the Amores themselves and their artistic unity. It moves on to explain the fragmentary transmission of the Amores in the "Latin Anthology" and the cohesion of the fragments into the conventions of Medieval Latin and troubadour "courtly love" poetry. Two subsequent chapters explain the use of the Amores, their narrator, and the conventions of "courtly love" in the poetry of both Dante and Petrarch. The final chapter concentrates on Shakespeare's reprocessing and parody of this material in his sonnets.
Harmful Eloquence analyzes the intertextual transmission of the Amores in major medieval and Renaissance love poetry for the first time. No previous study has devoted itself exclusively to this Ovidian text in this particular way. The premise that Ovid consciously used the device of persona from the very beginning of his writing career is fully explored, as is the "Ovidian hypothesis" of Wilibald Schroetter. Connections between Dante's La vita nuova and the Amores are newly discovered; significant for Shakespeare studies, the use of Christopher Marlowe's translation of the Amores by Shakespeare in his "dark lady" sonnets is also carefully analyzed for the first time.
Medievalists, classicists, and scholars of Renaissance studies will find Harmful Eloquence particularly engaging and useful, as will all those interested in the process and methods of literary transmission.
M. L. Stapleton is Associate Professor of English, Stephen F. Austin University.
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Heroides. Amores
Ovid
Harvard University Press, 1977

Two early works by the consummate Latin love poet.

Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC–AD 17), born at Sulmo, studied rhetoric and law at Rome. Later he did considerable public service there, and otherwise devoted himself to poetry and to society. Famous at first, he offended the emperor Augustus by his Ars amatoria, and was banished because of this work and some other reason unknown to us, and dwelt in the cold and primitive town of Tomis on the Black Sea. He continued writing poetry, a kindly man, leading a temperate life. He died in exile.

Ovid's main surviving works are the Metamorphoses, a source of inspiration to artists and poets including Chaucer and Shakespeare; the Fasti, a poetic treatment of the Roman year of which Ovid finished only half; the Amores, love poems; the Ars amatoria, not moral but clever and in parts beautiful; Heroides, fictitious love letters by legendary women to absent husbands; and the dismal works written in exile: the Tristia, appeals to persons including his wife and also the emperor; and similar Epistulae ex Ponto. Poetry came naturally to Ovid, who at his best is lively, graphic and lucid.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid is in six volumes.

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Idleness Working
the Discourse of Love's Labor from Ovid through Chaucer and Gower
Gregory M. Sadlek
Catholic University of America Press, 2004
Inspired by the critical theories of M. M. Bakhtin, Idleness Working is a groundbreaking study of key works in the Western literature of love from Classical Rome to the late Middle Ages.
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Love Poems, Letters, and Remedies of Ovid
Ovid
Harvard University Press, 2011

Widely praised for his recent translations of Boethius and Ariosto, David R. Slavitt returns to Ovid, once again bringing to the contemporary ear the spirited, idiomatic, audacious charms of this master poet.

The love described here is the anguished, ruinous kind, for which Ovid was among the first to find expression. In the Amores, he testifies to the male experience, and in the companion Heroides—through a series of dramatic monologues addressed to absent lovers—he imagines how love goes for women. “You think she is ardent with you? So was she ardent with him,” cries Oenone to Paris. Sappho, revisiting the forest where she lay with Phaon, sighs, “The place / without your presence is just another place. / You were what made it magic.” The Remedia Amoris sees love as a sickness, and offers curative advice: “The beginning is your best chance to resist”; “Try to avoid onions, / imported or domestic. And arugula is bad. / Whatever may incline your body to Venus / keep away from.” The voices of men and women produce a volley of extravagant laments over love’s inconstancy and confusions, as though elegance and vigor of expression might compensate for heartache.

Though these love poems come to us across millennia, Slavitt’s translations, introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Dirda, ensure that their sentiments have not faded with the passage of time. They delight us with their wit, even as we weep a little in recognition.

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Mail and Female
Epistolary Narrative and Desire in Ovid's Heroides
Sara H. Lindheim
University of Wisconsin Press, 2003
    In the Heroides, the Roman poet Ovid wittily plucks fifteen abandoned heroines from ancient myth and literature and creates the fiction that each woman writes a letter to the hero who left her behind. But in giving voice to these heroines, is Ovid writing like a woman, or writing "Woman" like a man?
    Using feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to examine the "female voice" in the Heroides, Sara H. Lindheim closely reads these fictive letters in which the women seemingly tell their own stories. She points out that in Ovid’s verse epistles all the women represent themselves in a strikingly similar and disjointed fashion. Lindheim turns to Lacanian theory of desire to explain these curious and hauntingly repetitive representations of the heroines in the "female voice." Lindheim’s approach illuminates what these poems reveal about both masculine and feminine constructions of the feminine
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The Moralized Ovid
Pierre Bersuire
Harvard University Press, 2023

An influential medieval allegorical interpretation of the Metamorphoses that uncovers the hidden moral truths of Ovid’s stories, translated into English for the first time.

Written in about 1340 in Avignon by the Benedictine preacher Pierre Bersuire, The Moralized Ovid—commonly referred to by its Latin title, Ovidius moralizatus, to distinguish it from the anonymous French vernacular Ovide moralisé—was arguably the most influential interpretation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the High Middle Ages. It circulated widely in manuscript form and was frequently printed during the Renaissance. Originally intended as a sourcebook of exempla for preachers’ sermons, The Moralized Ovid provides not only a window into the reception of classical literature in the fourteenth century but also amazingly vivid details of daily life in the Middle Ages across all strata of society.

The work begins with a detailed description of the Greco-Roman gods, inspired in part by Bersuire’s friend and fellow proponent of classical poetry, Francesco Petrarch. It then retells selected major myths from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, each followed by numerous allegorical interpretations that draw from biblical stories, contemporary events, and the natural world.

This edition presents the first full English translation alongside an authoritative Latin text.

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The Offense of Love
Ars Amatoria, Remedia Amoris, and Tristia 2
Ovid, A verse translation by Julia D. Hejduk, with introduction and notes
University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
Ovid's Art of Love (Ars Amatoria) and its sequel Remedies for Love (Remedia Amoris) are among the most notorious poems of the ancient world. In AD 8, the emperor Augustus exiled Ovid to the shores of the Black Sea for "a poem and a mistake." Whatever the mistake may have been, the poem was certainly the Ars Amatoria, which the emperor found a bit too immoral.
            In exile, Ovid composed Sad Things (Tristia), which included a defense of his life and work as brilliant and cheeky as his controversial love manuals. In a poem addressed to Augustus (Tristia 2), he argues, "Since all of life and literature is one long, steamy sex story, why single poor Ovid out?" While seemingly groveling at the emperor's feet, he creates an image of Augustus as capricious tyrant and himself as suffering artist that wins over every reader (except the one to whom it was addressed).
            Bringing together translations of the Ars Amatoria, Remedia Amoris, and Tristia 2, Julia Dyson Hejduk's The Offense of Love is the first book to include both the offense and the defense of Ovid's amatory work in a single volume. Hejduk's elegant and accurate translations, helpful notes, and comprehensive introduction will guide readers through Ovid's wickedly witty poetic tour of the literature, mythology, topography, religion, politics, and (of course) sexuality of ancient Rome.

Finalist, National Translation Award, American Literary Translators Association 

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book
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Ovid before Exile
Art and Punishment in the Metamorphoses
Patricia J. Johnson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2007
The epic Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most renowned work, has regained its stature among the masterpieces of great poets such as Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus. Yet its irreverent tone and bold defiance of generic boundaries set the Metamorphoses apart from its contemporaries. Ovid before Exile provides a compelling new reading of the epic, examining the text in light of circumstances surrounding the final years of Augustus’ reign, a time when a culture of poets and patrons was in sharp decline, discouraging and even endangering artistic freedom of expression.
    Patricia J. Johnson demonstrates how the production of art—specifically poetry—changed dramatically during the reign of Augustus. By Ovid’s final decade in Rome, the atmosphere for artistic work had transformed, leading to a drop in poetic production of quality. Johnson shows how Ovid, in the episodes of artistic creation that anchor his Metamorphoses, responded to his audience and commented on artistic circumstances in Rome.
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Ovid's Causes
Cosmogony and Aetiology in the Metamorphoses
K. Sara Myers
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Ovid’s Causes offers a new reassessment of the poet’s longest and most difficult poem, the Metamorphoses. This poem has long been denied epic stature because of its stylistic and thematic diversity. K. Sara Myers demonstrates that the poem must be understood as the inheritor and interpreter of the Roman tradition of cosmological epic. She situates the poem in the traditions and conventions of Roman poetry and considers the ways in which it both fulfills and overturns the expectations of the epic genre.
 
The first and final chapters of this book examine the scientific and cosmological framework of the poem. Ovid’s juxtaposition of scientific and mythological explanations is an aspect of his sophisticated manipulation of truth and fiction, and of the claims of philosophical poetry and mythological poetry.
 
This illuminating study presents much useful material for students of Roman poetry or of Greek literary influences that profoundly influenced its development. Students and scholars of ancient poetical traditions will likewise find much of interest.
 
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Ovid's "Heroides" and the Augustan Principate
Megan O. Drinkwater
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
43 BCE, the year after the assassination of Julius Caesar. While the Roman republic had seen many conflicts, it was this civil war, headed by the vengeful triumvirate of Mark Anthony, Marcus Lepidus, and Octavian, that irrevocably transformed Rome with its upheaval. What followed was years of fighting and the eventual ascendancy of Octavian, who from 27 BCE onwards would be best known as Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman Principate.
 
It was in this era of turmoil and transformation that Ovid, the Roman poet best known for Metamorphoses, was born. The Heroides, one of his earliest and most elusive works, is not written from the first-person perspective that so often characterizes the elegiac poetry of that time but from the personae of tragic heroines of classical mythology.
 
Megan O. Drinkwater illustrates how Ovid used innovations of literary form to articulate an expression of the crisis of civic identity in Rome at a time of extreme and permanent political change. The letters are not divorced from the context of their composition but instead elucidate that context for their readers and expose how Ovid engaged in politics throughout his entire career. Their importance is as much historical as literary. Drinkwater makes a compelling case for understanding the Heroides as a testament from one of Rome’s most eloquent writers to the impact that the dramatic shift from republic to empire had on its intellectual elites.
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Ovid's Literary Loves
Influence and Innovation in the Amores
Barbara Weiden Boyd
University of Michigan Press, 1997
Ovid's poetry has in recent years enjoyed a remarkable renaissance: in particular, there has been a surge of interest in the Heroides, the Fasti, and his exile poetry. Ovid's Literary Loves, by Barbara Weiden Boyd, reopens the Amores for the modern reader. The volume establishes a context for the recent reception of the Amores, and proposes an alternative approach to the collection by discussing recent trends in the discussion of imitation in Roman poetry. A premise basic to most Ovidian studies has been that the Amores are not only imitative, but parodic, both of the elegiac genre writ large and of Propertius in particular. In contrast, Boyd emphasizes the many nonelegiac, non-Propertian features of the collection. Ovid's irony and its consequences are also discussed with special attention to the narrative structure of the three books.
Boyd's thoughtful approach to imitation in Latin poetry brings into prominence the formative role played by Virgil in shaping Ovid's "poetic memory," even in the Amores. The detailed examination of Ovidian extended similes shows how the poet exploits the literary past precisely in order to free himself from generic restraint and to expand the narrow horizons of elegy. Boyd argues that this paradox is the essence of Ovidian poetics.
Ovid's Literary Loves is an imaginative approach to imitation in Latin poetry and makes a significant contribution to current discussions of the subject. This is one of the first contemporary scholarly monographs on the Amores, and it will find a large and welcoming audience of Latinists at all levels of study.
Barbara Weiden Boyd is Associate Professor of Classics, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.
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Ovid's Women of the Year
Narratives of Roman Identity in the Fasti
Angeline Chiu
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Roman love-poet Ovid, best known for the epic Metamorphoses, offers in his Fasti the self-proclaimed goal of exploring and explicating the Roman calendar. Published in his maturity circa 14 CE, the Fasti presents claims of aetiological, astronomical, and even antiquarian interests, but more importantly the poem highlights an extraordinary prominence of female characters at work, play, and worship in its verses. From flirtatious goddesses to talkative old women, beautiful puellae to stern prophetesses and beyond, Ovid’s “calendar girls” appear in a vast and kaleidoscopic array of guises and narratives, importing and transforming literary genre and expectation alike in a poem that already in shape and purpose is unique in Latin literature. The poet’s long-standing fascination with female figures that had first appeared in his earliest work and then accompanied him throughout his career now resurfaces in a much more complex form.

Of interest to literary scholars, antiquarians, and those studying the social and political roles of ancient women, Ovid’s Women of the Year offers an intriguing view of an Ovidian poem now coming into its own.

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The Play of Fictions
Studies in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 2
A. M. Keith
University of Michigan Press, 1992
A lucid analysis of the characterization of Ovidian narrative
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Reading Ovid in Medieval Wales
Paul Russell
The Ohio State University Press, 2017
Reading Ovid in Medieval Wales provides the first complete edition and discussion of the earliest surviving fragment of Ovid’s Ars amatoria, or The Art of Love, which derives from ninth-century Wales; the manuscript, which is preserved in Oxford, is heavily glossed mainly in Latin but also in Old Welsh. This study, by Classical and Celtic scholar Paul Russell, discusses the significance of the manuscript for classical studies and how it was absorbed into the classical Ovidian tradition. This volume’s main focus, however, is on the glossing and commentary and what these can teach us about the pedagogical approaches to Ovid’s text in medieval Europe and Britain and, more specifically, in Wales.
 
Russell argues that this annotated version of the Ars amatoria arose out of the teaching traditions of the Carolingian world and that the annotation, as we have it, was the product of a cumulative process of glossing and commenting on the text. He then surveys other glossed Ovid manuscripts to demonstrate how that accumulation was built up. Russell also explores the fascinating issue of why Ovid’s love poetry should be used to teach Latin verse in monastic contexts. Finally, he discusses the connection between this manuscript and the numerous references to Ovid in later Welsh poetry, suggesting that the Ovidian references should perhaps be taken to refer to love poetry more generically.
 
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Renaissance Postscripts
Responding to Ovid's Heroides in Sixteenth-Century France
Paul White
The Ohio State University Press, 2009
Ovid’s Heroides, a collection consisting mainly of poetic love letters sent by mythological heroines to their absent lovers, held a particular fascination for Renaissance readers. To understand their responses to these letters, we must ask exactly how and in what contexts those readers first encountered them: were they read in Latin or in the vernacular; as source texts for the learning of grammar and history or as love poetry; as epistolary and rhetorical models or as moral examples?
 
Renaissance Postscripts: Responding to Ovid’s Heroides in Sixteenth-Century France by Paul White offers an account of the wide variety of responses to the Heroides within the realm of humanist education, in the works of both Latin commentators and French translators, and as an example of a particular mode of imitation. The author examines how humanists shaped the discourse of Ovid’s heroines and heroes to pedagogical ends and analyses even the woodcuts that illustrated various editions. This study traces comparative readings of French translations through a period noted for important shifts in attitudes to the text and to poetic translation in general and offers an important history of the “reply epistle”—a mode of imitation attempted both in Latin and the vernacular. Renaissance Postscripts shows that while the Heroides was a versatile text that could serve a wide range of pedagogical and literary purposes, it was also a text that resisted the attempts of its interpreters to have the final word.
 
 
 
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Repeat Performances
Ovidian Repetition and the Metamorphoses
Edited by Laurel Fulkerson and Tim Stover
University of Wisconsin Press, 2016
Although repetition is found in all ancient literary genres, it is especially pervasive in epic poetry. Ovid’s Metamorphoses exploits this dimension of the epic genre to a great extent; past critics have faulted it as too filled with recycled themes and language. This volume seeks a deeper understanding of Ovidian repetitiveness in the context of new scholarship on intertextuality and intratextuality, examining the purposeful reuse of previous material and the effects produced by a text’s repetitive gestures.
            A shared vision of the possibilities of Latin epic poetry unites the essays, as does a series of attempts to realize those opportunities. Some of the pieces represent a traditional vein of allusion and intertextuality; others are more innovative in their approaches. Each, in a sense, stands as a placeholder for a methodology of theorizing the repetitive practices of poetry, of epic, and of Ovid in particular.

Contributors: Antony Augoustakis, Neil W. Bernstein, Barbara Weiden Boyd, Andrew Feldherr, Peter Heslin, Stephen Hinds, Sharon L. James, Alison Keith, Peter E. Knox, Darcy Krasne
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Rival Praises
Ovid and the Metamorphosis of the Hymnic Tradition
Celia M. Campbell
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
The Metamorphoses, written by the Roman poet Ovid, has fascinated readers ever since it was written in the first century CE, and here Celia M. Campbell offers a bold new interpretive approach. Reasserting the significance of the ancient hymnic tradition, she argues that the first pentad of Ovid’s Metamorphoses draws a programmatic strain of influence from hymns to the gods, in particular conversation—and competition—with the work of the Alexandrian poet Callimachus, a favored source of inspiration to Augustan writers. She suggests that Ovid read Callimachus’ six hymns as a self-conscious set—and reading the first five books of the Metamorphoses through Callimachus’ hymnic collection allows us to pierce the occasionally opaque and seemingly idiosyncratic mythology Ovid constructs. Through careful, innovative close readings, Campbell illustrates that Callimachus and the hymnic tradition provide a kind of interpretative key to unlocking the dynamic landscape of divine power in Ovid’s poetic cosmos.
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Silenced Voices
The Poetics of Speech in Ovid
Bartolo A. Natoli
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
Silenced Voices is a pointed examination of the loss of speech, exile from community, and memory throughout the literary corpus of the Roman poet Ovid. In his book-length poem Metamorphoses, characters are transformed in ways that include losing their power of human speech. In Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, poems written after Ovid's exile from Rome in 8 ce, he represents himself as also having been transformed, losing his voice.

Bartolo A. Natoli provides a unique cross-reading of these works. He examines how the motifs and ideas articulated in the Metamorphoses provide the template for the poet's representation of his own exile. Ovid depicts his transformation with an eye toward memory, reformulating how his exile would be perceived by his audience. His exilic poems are an attempt to recover the voice he lost and to reconnect with the community of Rome.
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WEB OF FANTASIES
GAZE, IMAGE, & GENDER IN OVID'S METAMORPHOSES
Patricia B. Salzman-Mitchell
The Ohio State University Press, 2005
Drawing on recent scholarship in art, film, literary theory, and gender studies, A Web of Fantasies examines the complexities, symbolism and interactions between gaze and image in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and forms a gender-sensitive perspective. It is a feminist study of Ovid’s epic, which includes many stories about change, in which discussions of viewers, viewing, and imagery strive to illuminate Ovid’s constructions of male and female. Patricia Salzman-Mitchell discusses the text from the perspective of three types of gazes: of characters looking, of the poet who narrates visually charged stories, and of the reader who “sees” the woven images in the text. Arguing against certain theorists who deny the possibility of any feminine vision in a male-authored poem, the author maintains that the female point of view can be released through the traditional feminine occupation of weaving, featuring the woven images of Arachne (involved in a weaving contest in which she tried to best the goddess Athena, who turned her into a spider) and Philomela (who had her tongue cut out, so had to weave a tapestry depicting her rape and mutilation).
     The book observes that while feminist models of the gaze can create productive readings of the poem, these models are too limited and reductive for such a protean and complex text as Metamorphoses. This work brings forth the pervasive importance of the act of looking in the poem which will affect future readings of Ovid’s epic.
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