Wanderings of Spirit: Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”



The joyful, anti-didactic spirit of Ovid’s Metamorphoses has always been close to my heart. As I have come across a new, modern translation by Charles Martin, I have decided to reread this timeless classic. I always remembered that Shakespeare loved it, which I think says a lot. What is palpable in the way Ovid orchestrates his “mock epic” is the trickster spirit. The narrator seems to jump from one story to the next without any warning but always with a lot of gusto. The most famous Greek myths are retold in a fascinating and playful manner. In the translator’s introduction, Charles Martin quotes Italo Calvino from his Six Memos for the New Millennium, where he describes what he calls “the manifold text, which replaces the oneness of the thinking ‘I’ with a mul­tiplicity of subjects, voices and views of the world.” There is a multiplicity of characters in Metamorphoses

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