These poems are a recent treatment of Ovid's "Metamorphoses". Ovid's "Metamorphoses" captured the European imagination from Chaucer onwards and Hughes's treatment brings them back into the centre of our minds.
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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.Review:
"Brilliantly succeeds at bringing Ovid's passionate and disturbing stories to life."--James Shapiro, " The New York Times Book Review" "One of the few unquestionable successes in the revolutionary vein Pound opened at the start of the century."--Donald Lyons, "The Wall Street Journal" "Hughes is as broad as Ovid and as subtle, as violent and as erotic, as elegant and as folksy-and often all at the same time. It is simply a beautiful match."--Michael Hofmann, "The Times "(London)
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