“The Metamorphoses of Ovid offers to the modern world such a key to the literary and religious culture of the ancients that it becomes an important event when at last a good poet comes up with a translation into English verse.” John Crowe Ransom
“… a charming and expert English version, which is right in tone for the Metamorphoses.” Francis Fergusson
“This new Ovid, fresh and faithful, is right for our time and should help to restore a great reputation.” Mark Van Doren
The first and still the best modern verse translation of the Metamorphoses, Humphries’s version of Ovid’s masterpiece captures its wit, merriment, and sophistication.
Everyone will enjoy this first modern translation by an American poet of Ovid’s great work, the major treasury of classical mythology, which has perennially stimulated the minds of men. In this lively rendering there are no stock props of the pastoral and no literary landscaping, but real food on the table and sometimes real blood on the ground.
Not only is Ovid’s Metamorphoses a collection of all the myths of the time of the Roman poet as he knew them, but the book presents at the same time a series of love poems, about the loves of men, women, and the gods. There are also poems of hate, to give the proper shading to the narrative. And pervading all is the writer’s love for this earth, its people, its phenomena.
Using ten-beat, unrhymed lines in his translation, Rolfe Humphries shows a definite kinship for Ovid’s swift and colloquial language and Humphries’s whole poetic manner is in tune with the wit and sophistication of the Roman poet.
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