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Heroides (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Ovid , Harold Isbell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 April 1990 Classics
In the twenty-one poems of the Heroides, Ovid gave voice to the heroines and heroes of epic and myth. These deeply moving literary epistles reveal the happiness and torment of love, as the writers tell of their pain at separation, forgiveness of infidelity or anger at betrayal. The faithful Penelope wonders at the suspiciously long absence of Ulysses, while Dido bitterly reproaches Aeneas for too eagerly leaving her bed to follow his destiny, and Sappho - the only historical figure portrayed here - describes her passion for the cruelly rejecting Phaon. In the poetic letters between Paris and Helen the lovers seem oblivious to the tragedy prophesied for them, while in another exchange the youthful Leander asserts his foolhardy eagerness to risk his life to be with his beloved Hero.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (26 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140423559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140423556
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Publius Ovidius Naso was born in 43 BC at Sumo in Central Italy. He was expelled from Rome by the emperor Augustus in AD 8 for some unknown offence. He published poetry throughout his life.

Harold Isbell is a renowned translator.


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Publius Ovidius Naso was born in 43 BC, and died in AD 17. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mythology becomes 'real'. 7 Dec 2005
Format:Paperback
Publius Ovidius Naso was born in 43 B.C. and died in 18 A.D.
Emperor Augustus banished him - for unknown reasons - to Tomi ( a barren place near the coast of the Black Sea ). A few scholars believe that this was a literary hoax created by Ovidius himself.
With 'Heroides' ( Legendary Women ) Ovidius goes against the tradition where only men were allowed to complain in literary fiction about their ill fortune and human cruelty.
These women are all characters from the greek mythology like Briseis (Trojan war), Hermione the daughter of Helen and even Sappho as heroine in the legend where she commits suicide by jumping from a cliff into the sea.
Ovidius turned these women from rather abstract mythological characters into 'real' persons who could be recognized as such by the audience or the readers of Ovidius' work
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't be more highly recommended. 3 Dec 2005
By Pigkate
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent edition of an essential book by the best of the Roman poets (in my humble opinion, of course). Not only is the Heroides an entertaining and very easy-to-read collection of letters, but there is plenty of information provided should you be unfamiliar with any of the myths. Ovid explores the emotional and psychological nature of the principle characters of famous tales of lovers from ancient Greece and Rome, often retaining his renowned sense of playful irony and satire. I would highly recommend this book to anyone even vaguely interested in the literature of the ancient world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Letters of the heroines 20 Jun 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In the 21 poems of the Heroides, Ovid inserts himself into classical myth and epic by interjecting letters written by the heroines of larger stories. So, for example, he has Penelope write to Odysseus while he is lost on his way back to Ithaka from Troy; Dido to Aeneas after he has left Carthage for Rome; Briseis to Achilles after she has been passed to Agamemnon etc.

Usually lauded as giving a `female' voice to masculine epic, the Heroides, I think, is doing something more complex than that - and we should never forget that these `female' voices are as ventriloquised by a male author as their originals.
These poems were hugely popular in the Renaissance and gave rise to a large number of translations as well as looser imitations such as Marlowe's superb Hero and Leander, based on Heroides 18 & 19.

I think a fairly close acquaintance with the source text(s) is essential to really `get' these poems but for an alternative reading of classical epic in Augustan Rome they are illuminating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Off the beaten path 20 Mar 2014
By Joey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Many are acquainted with the Metamorphosis, but this work by Ovid is less celebrated. A beautiful bit of heartfelt writing, the Heroides is a collection of letters that Ovid imagines would have been written by tormented lovers to the ones they love, if they had a chance to write a letter.
He uses well known figures from mythology, such as Paris and Helen, as his inspiration.
A good book for those who enjoy love poetry and classical mythology.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mythology becomes real. 17 April 2005
By Jan Dierckx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Publius Ovidius Naso was born in 43 B.C. and died in 18 A.D.
Emperor Augustus banished him - for unknown reasons - to Tomi ( a barren place near the coast of the Black Sea ). A few scholars believe that this was a literary hoax created by Ovidius himself.
With 'Heroides' ( Legendary Women ) Ovidius goes against the tradition where only men were allowed to complain in literary fiction about their ill fortune and human cruelty.
These women are all characters from the greek mythology like Briseis (Trojan war), Hermione the daughter of Helen and even Sappho as heroine in the legend where she commits suicide by jumping from a cliff into the sea.

Ovidius turned these women from rather abstract mythological characters into 'real' persons who could be recognized as such by the audience or the readers of Ovidius' work
9 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting book, but..... 18 Aug 2001
By SEBASTIANVS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recommend this interesting book for everyone who is intersted in the "classical Greek & Roman world". However, I prefer to read it in the original Latin texts. And if you don't read the ancient Latin language well, I suggest you to read a volume(no.225) of the Loeb Classical Library.
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