(Image: an imaginary likeness of Ovid, statue standing in his birthplace, Sulmona, Italy. Photo: Bill Jennings.)

Now that I have whittled down my currently reading shelf, I will start on my main reading project for this spring: Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

I dimly remember translating parts of this in Latin class in high school, but I can’t say I truly appreciated Ovid’s work other than for the sense of achievement that comes with slowly being able to translate a text from another language.

It is time for a re-read.

I have no doubt that I will have lots of thoughts on this book. In fact, I believe this is the book that once already (when I first read parts of it) shattered my believe that people thought the world was flat until the age of the great explorers, when in fact, this was a myth (dating back to the 1800s) and this notion of the flat earth had already been argued against, and a spherical shape widely accepted, since the Ancient Greeks. But such is the power of reading classical texts, isn’t it?

It’s not just a journey back in time to discover old stories, it’s also a journey through the history of what is accepted as (scientific) knowledge.

Anyway, I will keep this as the main post and add updates of the 15 Books of the Metamorphoses as I sail through them.


A note on the edition of my text: 

After much deliberation on which translation to choose, and 2e21f66c95011c70a7d5bbda7a9510c7whether to read the translation or go for a bilingual text, I opted for the Penguin Classic edition first published in 2004. This is a new translation by David Raeburn, which seeks to combine a literal translation with of the original with the format of a hexameter verse. Other editions I have looked at seemed to either be too literal or too poetic (side-eyeing Ted Hughes here). I cannot verify (or rather I won’t invest the effort) how close the literal translation of Raeburn’s work is to the original text, but I believe this edition does Ovid justice in the sense that the original text would have been intended for an audience rather than a reader, that it would have been performed by an orator, or told in spoken work rather than enjoyed in writing. As such, Raeburn’s effort to keep the narration in a verse sounded like a fun way to explore this work.