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After Ovid: New Metamorphoses
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About the Author

Michael Hofmann is a poet and frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost translators of works from German to English. He lives in London. James Lasdun was born in London and now lives in upstate New York. He has published two novels as well as several collections of short stories and poetry. He has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and short-listed for the Los Angeles Times, T. S. Eliot, and Forward prizes in poetry; and he was the winner of the inaugural U.K./BBC Short Story Prize. His nonfiction has been published in Harper's Magazine, Granta, and the London Review of Books.

Reviews

The editors commissioned 42 poets from America, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand to "translate, reinterpret, reflect on, or completely reimagine" Ovid's famous Metamorphoses. What results are updated versions of the classic history of transformations of humans and inanimate objects. In these versions, which are not literal translations but adaptations utilizing characters and themes from the original, the sophisticated hexameters and great length (over 12,000 lines) of Ovid's masterpiece give way to fable-narratives in widely varying free verse and rhymed modernist rhythms. There are brief, insightful commentaries and long, stylistic imitations. Ovid's worldliness, use of shock, unorthodox emphasis on extremes of psychological behavior, and, as the editors observe, "distinct cinematic qualities" appeal to the contemporary mind. The best of these adaptations (those by Alice Fulton and C.K. Williams) show an exuberant reinterpretation of the passion of Ovid's fabulous gods with a thoughtful application of ancient stories to contemporary life. For most collections.-Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute

"[This anthology aims] to play fast and loose with Ovid's text and themes just as he played fast and loose with the old myths. After Ovid is racy, memorable, and vividly contemporary. The themes are most certainly ours: sex-change, multiple rape, cross-dressing, the random cruelties of war. The poets re-imagine, reflect on, and generally reinterpret the originals--something of which Ovid himself would surely have approved. Reading Ovid in these versions, and even in the original, is a bit like a good evening at the cinema: rapid scene changes; sudden close-ups; unexpected shifts of attention." --The Economist "The old magic has worked anew and several major figures have obviously found themselves hooked. . . . The contributors' list is a roll-call of remarkable distinction. . . . The effect is to bring Ovid from a dead to a living language." --The New Statesman & Society [This anthology aims] to play fast and loose with Ovid's text and themes just as he played fast and loose with the old myths. "After Ovid" is racy, memorable, and vividly contemporary. The themes are most certainly ours: sex-change, multiple rape, cross-dressing, the random cruelties of war. The poets re-imagine, reflect on, and generally reinterpret the originals--something of which Ovid himself would surely have approved. Reading Ovid in these versions, and even in the original, is a bit like a good evening at the cinema: rapid scene changes; sudden close-ups; unexpected shifts of attention. "The Economist" The old magic has worked anew and several major figures have obviously found themselves hooked. . . . The contributors' list is a roll-call of remarkable distinction. . . . The effect is to bring Ovid from a dead to a living language. "The New Statesman & Society"" "[This anthology aims] to play fast and loose with Ovid's text and themes just as he played fast and loose with the old myths. "After Ovid" is racy, memorable, and vividly contemporary. The themes are most certainly ours: sex-change, multiple rape, cross-dressing, the random cruelties of war. The poets re-imagine, reflect on, and generally reinterpret the originals--something of which Ovid himself would surely have approved. Reading Ovid in these versions, and even in the original, is a bit like a good evening at the cinema: rapid scene changes; sudden close-ups; unexpected shifts of attention."--"The Economist" "The old magic has worked anew and several major figures have obviously found themselves hooked. . . . The contributors' list is a roll-call of remarkable distinction. . . . The effect is to bring Ovid from a dead to a living language."--"The New Statesman & Society"

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