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Tales from Ovid: Twenty-four Passages from the "Metamorphoses" Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Amazon Review

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)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Poetry; 1st edition (3 Dec. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002ZODQNC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,526 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The large paintings post Renaissance of mythical events left me cold. I never understood what could drive someone to paint such quantities of flesh doing odd things. I knew the stories, bawdlerised, confined to footnotes. I had never read Ovid. Ted Hughes translation transmits the passion, the telling detail, the sexual twist that previous generations knew and loved when their education meant reading these imagination-stirring gems. Phaeton crashing his father's sun chariot after careering all over the sky with it to prove himself lives on in every boy racer. I luxuriate in this book: it has been loved 2 thousand years so why not me too?
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Format: Paperback
Read this majestic, exciting volume of poems as soon as you can.
It's a truly wonderful and brilliant work. The best book by a British writer during the 1990s.
Hughes's Ovid is better than the old Ovid!
The original Press reviews said it was a very fine book - even Steiner in The Observer! - and they were right. A classic.
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Format: Paperback
My wife and I read this slowly, being sure to read the entire book out loud. During our semi-nightly ritual of reading out loud to one another, which mostly involves me reading to Amy, I found myself shivering with the visceral, accurate, and beautiful writing that Hughes engages to re-tell these most famous of stories: Ovid's Metamorphoses.

I was introduced to this book some time back by a dear friend of mine who loved Hughes's translation of the story of Echo and Narcissus and read it while studying Classics. That was indeed one of my favourites in the collection, accompanied too by the stories of Arethusa, of Venus and Adonis (and Atalanta), of Actaeon, of Arachne, and of so many others. My wife also studied classics and we resolved some time ago to purchase the book and read it aloud, which was a fantastic, though extended, experience. Now, I almost cannot imagine these stories read silently.

Hughes represents forcibly Ovid's core theme of metamorphosis: the fact that men and gods are vulnerable to change and flux. Furthermore, Hughes also captures the messages of the stories well in his physical and robust language - you feel Arachne's pride as she takes on Minerva, you internalise the urgent, visceral need that Narcissus feels for himself, you experience the change of body to water as Arethusa tries to evade Alpheus and they both metamorphose. Ovid's original stories contain violence, rape, murder, and vengeance and Hughes's presentation of these acts is vivid and transformative. Again, in the story of Arethusa you cannot help but understand the sense of pursuit, of intent to fulfill passionate ravishment, the urge to penetrate, to touch, to clutch. Reading this book is unlike reading a novel, and unlike reading most contemporary poetry.
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Format: Paperback
Tales from Ovid. This is more like reading a rattling good novel than poetry. Having said that the language is stunning with imagery to fill the screen of the widest imagination. Driving narrative and brilliant, graphic language embroil the reader in these steamy, violent, amoral myths.Physicality bursts through the language in the way it did in Hughes 'Crow' twenty odd years ago, except this time its people whose hearts and loins are thrashing on the page. Be warned, it's gorey stuff. E.M. Forster, in a personal view of Heaven, surmised that the solidity of those that abided there depended on the degree to which they were remembered on earth. Zeus & co. may all have been on the verge of becoming fast-fading entities but Hughes pumps the very teeth and spunk of life back into the old gods. It's like they're still carrying on their capers down in the blue blazing Aegean.
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Format: Paperback
Poetry tends to be the great divider in literature; you either love it, or hate it. And, until I found a poet I could understand and connect with on some level, I thought poetry was dull, self-indulgent, and alienating. But this was before I found poets like Ted Hughes. Hughes, unlike many so-called "Greats," will not hide a narrative beneath many layers of metaphor or pretence. Hughes' work, unlike the work of many so-called "Greats," has a timeless quality. And, if you have always wanted to enjoy poetry but have never been able to do so, I would highly recommend Hughes and Tales from Ovid.
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By A Customer on 12 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I've never been a particular fan of Ted Hughes, but this volume of translation of Ovid's wonderful stories is nothing short of astonishing. Rarely has such meaty, bold, exciting poetry been written. The phrasing is exquisite, with raw, graphic imagery, and moments of emotional purity which can be deeply moving. Taking the original Latin to soaring new heights, this is a masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
To witness a major poet of the twentieth century recreating in his own language the imaginative work of a poet who wrote two thousand years ago is a vertiginously exciting experience. And when the poet is such a technical master and virtuoso as Ted Hughes the pleasure is intoxicating. A wonderful read, I was delighted to find this second hand on Amazon - very good value.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What carries me away is Ted Hughes' conjuring of a godscape that has not the slightest relevance to contemporary existance. A work of the imagination endowed with a life that we cannot know except through a narrative created by a poet. The economy of his línes is startling. They are neither verse nor prose but their clarity makes this work sing. We are in a world of wild sensuality overwhelmed by passions so far removed from our planet that we seem to be astride a comet laughing out loud at global warming, polítical correctness and contemporary relevance. I enjoyed the ride.
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