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4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  47,664 Ratings  ·  1,113 Reviews
Metamorphoses--the best-known poem by one of the wittiest poets of classical antiquity--takes as its theme change and transformation, as illustrated by Greco-Roman myth and legend. Melville's new translation reproduces the grace and fluency of Ovid's style, and its modern idiom offers a fresh understanding of Ovid's unique and elusive vision of reality.
About the Series:
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 8)
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Rachel Smalter Hall
I bought this copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses when I was living in Rome. It's the book I was reading on the plane when I left Rome, as the realization sunk in that an awesome and strange adventure was drawing to a close, and it's the book I was still reading when I moved back to Minneapolis and attempted to readjust to life as a Midwestern college undergrad.

I was reading Metamorphoses at the cafe a few blocks away from my apartment when a strange man gave me that little terror of a kitten, Monster.
"Throughout all ages,
If poets have vision to prophesy truth, I shall live in my

Thus the closing lines of Ovid's "Metamorphoses". He was certainly right in his statement, but it feels like an appropriate irony that his work has been transformed, metamorphosed, over the millennia since he wrote his compilation of Roman and Greek literature. I have known most of the collected stories since my early days at university, but only now finished reading the "Metamorphoses" as a whole, from cover
Riku Sayuj
Jan 19, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-r-rs
To read this in English is to not have read it. The few Latin verses I could read and understand were more pleasurable than all the wonderful myths and twisted fates. The verses take the form of what it describes, they flow or pause or rear up along with its subject. The translation feels beautiful at those rare times when I can call to mind some of the great works of art inspired by those artists who loved and lived these verses. No statues were made by artists inspired by translations.
J.G. Keely
Sex, violence, and humor are often painted as low and primitive: the signs of a failing culture. Yet it is only in cultures with a strong economy and a substantial underclass that such practices can rise from duty to pastime. As Knox's introduction reminds us, Ovid's time was one of pervasive divorce, permissive laws, and open adultery, and our humble author participated in all of them.

Eventually, the grand tyrant closed his fist over the upper classes, exerting social controls and invoking the
Jun 22, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siempre es vital, en todo lector de clásicos que se precie de tal, recorrer las páginas de los pioneros, los creadores, los que antecedieron a toda la literatura moderna, tal es el caso de Ovidio como también lo son Virgilio, Homero, Sófocles, Esquilo, Eurípides y tantos otros. He leído con interés la mayoría de las transformaciones narradas en Las Metamorfosis y por supuesto, algunas me gustaron más que otras; por eso enumero la galería de mitos que desfilan por sus gloriosas páginas.

Todos ell
Nov 23, 2011 Celeste rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, own
What the fuck Ovid. Save some brilliance for the rest of us.
Feb 04, 2012 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Introduction & Notes
Further Reading
Translator's Note


Glossary Index
Map of Ovid's Mediterranean World
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I'm re-reading this from bits I consumed throughout my youf as a mythology dork, but the use of Roman names rather than their Greek equivalents requires a lot of stopping and re-referencing to figure out who the F. is being discussed. My Roman numerals suck too, since we're on the subject. Anyway, I decided to restart this in conjunction with reading Venus in Furs because that novel brought to mind the Pygmalion myth, which brings to mind The Sea Came in at Midnight, and somehow these all conglo ...more
Mar 31, 2011 Praj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ovid-lust-love
Gods and their love affairs. Gods and their love affairs with mortals. Fate, covetousness, allegiance, brutalities, treachery and chastisements metamorphosing from the cocoon of mighty love. The discordant waves of love dangerously destabilizing romantic notions; overwhelming morality and raison d'être of Gods and mortals alike. Ovid makes you want to write intense poetry and feel affectionate to the idea of love as a device of alteration for better or worse. Love does not conquer all; it destro ...more
Jun 19, 2017 BrokenTune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
This book is phenomenal.

I had read parts of the Metamorphoses in high school, and my focus then was on the language and structure of the text, not so much on the stories. That's just what happens when you're trying to learn how to translate texts from Latin.

When I picked up the book again earlier this year, I had no such restrictions (and no deadline) and I was looking forward to reading Ovid's history of the world - from its creation to Julius Caesar.

What I was looking forward to even more, wa
Nov 11, 2011 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”
― Ovid, Metamorphoses


Ovid -- the David Bowie of Latin literature. I chewed on this book of myth-poems the entire time I was tramping around Rome. I was looking for the right words to describe my feelings about it. It isn't that I didn't like it. It is an unequivocal masterpiece. I'm amazed by it. I see Ovid's genes in everything (paintings, sculptures, poems and prose). He is both modern
Evan Leach
The Romans have a reputation as the great copycats of antiquity. After all, these were a people who borrowed a large amount of their culture, including most of their gods, from their neighbors. This reputation for imitation certainly holds true when looking at Roman literature. Plautus and Terence borrowed wholesale from Menander and other Greek playwrights. Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, for all of its merits, is basically restating the views of Epicurus. Catullus and Propertius imitated Callimach ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Ovid. What I wouldn't give to travel back in time and make sweet love to you on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

No, I don't think it's unhealthy to have lustful fantasies about Ovid. I don't care what you think! I do very much care that his work was lush, provocative and unforgettable in its revolutionary translation (often taking liberties) of what was at the time contemporary folk literature. A treasury of verse!
David Lentz
Jun 19, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess that reading Ovid's Metamorphoses has left me a changed man. His focus on transformation parables of ancient myths taught me quite a bit about change. I was intrigued by how often unwanted change was unwillingly created by life-denying action that angers one of the gods. All the great figures of ancient times are here: Daedalus, Achilles, Paris, Perseus, Hector, Pygmalion, Midas, Helen and Aeneas to name but a few. The origins of common fables must have had their ancient roots in Ovid. ...more
Ian "Marvin" Grayejoy

The Birth of Narcissus

Narcissus was fathered by Cephisus, who "forcefully ravished" the dark river nymph, Liriope.

Narcissus was so beautiful that, even in his cradle, you could have fallen in love with him.

His family asked a seer whether he would live to a ripe old age. He replied, "Yes, if he does not come to know himself."

At first, it seemed that this reply was innocuous. However, ultimately, according to Ovid, it was proven to be true for two reasons: "the strange madness"
Metamorphoses is an epic poem written by Latin poet Publius Ovidius Naso, also known as merely Ovid. It's compounded by fifteen books that narrates this author's perspective of the world, from the Creation of it to his days in the Roman Empire through a recollection of fantastic myths about transformation, either out of prayer or punishment, but always by divine intervention. It is important, however, to take into account that often, when Ovid refers to these deities, throughout his epic verses, ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! Most of the myths contained herein were ones with which I was already familiar, many from high school Latin, but I’d not read the work in its entirety. What a treat it was to read it from start to finish, as Ovid had organized it. Ovid is a witty and urbane Latin writer of the last half of the first century BC and the early years of the first century AD, and he creatively used the myths of Greece to create a book that is a light entertainment as well as commentary on the ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS PATTERN SHOWS UP A LOT. My English II class taught me that authors use repetition of themes to tell you that they're important, so, that means this pattern must be REAL important:

1. Jupiter inexplicably rapes the Fair Maiden.
2. Juno uses trickery (trickery!) to cause the Fair Maiden to unwillingly screw everything up.
3. The Fair Maiden cries so much, she makes this river!
4. The Fair Maiden inexplicably turns into a tree. Usually some sort of soliloquoy about the unfairness of the situation
Sonia M
Mar 09, 2017 Sonia M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite, epic
Metamorphoses is about the universal law of endless energy flowing,shaping things and decomposing them. It becomes clear in the 15th book, when Pythagoras is mentioned to leave his native land, Samos, and establish his philosophical school in Italy.
Time flows in circles, everything is subjected to birth, decay, death and rebirth. Every form of life brings the soul further or closer to its devine source and touching this source is the only way out of the circle (sublimation of heroes). As an agn
4 Stars, Completed April 24, 2016

They say leave the best for last, right? My last assigned reading for my classics class happened to be my favorite. It incorporated all the famous myths I already knew (and some unknown ones I haven't heard before) but also put them all in context and sequence.

Ovid's Metamorphoses documents the origin and creation of the world up until the life of the poet himself. There are some familiar segments pulled from The Iliad (my review), The Odyssey , and The Aenei
Alp Turgut
Homeros'un "İlyada" ve "Odysseia" ve Virgilius'un "Aeneis" destanlarının izinden giderek dünyanın yaradılışından Julius Caesar'ın evlatlık oğlu Agustus zamanına kadar olan neredeyse tüm önemli mitolojik olayları okuyucuya sunan "Metamorphoses / Dönüşümler", Ovidius'un edebiyat tarihine kazandırdığı mükemmel bir başyapıt. Kitabı okumak için Antik Yunan edebiyatına çokça hakim olmak gerekiyor. O yüzden eserin benim gibi Antik Yunan ve Roma edebiyatını bitirmek üzere olan okuyucuların son durağı ol ...more
Roman Clodia
Apr 13, 2017 Roman Clodia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ovid was ignored by classical scholars for a long time as being frivolous and just not serious enough. He has now been rehabilitated and Metamorphoses is recognised as being one of the most complex, sophisticated and problematic poems of the age of Augustus.

It's also one of the wittiest and most accessible, and this translation deserves prizes for being both faithful to the original Latin and yet reading beautifully in modern English blank verse.

Too often regarded as a compendium of Greek and Ro
Akemi G
Jun 23, 2016 Akemi G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
I've been reading retelling of Greek mythology all my life, so it's probably time to read it in a more authentic form. There are many English translations for Metamorphoses. I think the enjoyment of reading depends very much on the quality of translation, so this review compares the various versions.

Translated by Charles Martin (Norton) 2004
I bought this after reading this comparison. It's subtly but undeniable frustrating to me. I guess the first paragraph (invocation) is not the best passage
The only way this could be better is if Ovidius himself recited it while I reclined on a couch listening to him.

And while the other creatures on all fours
Look downwards, man was made to hold his head
Erect in majesty and see the sky,
And raise his eyes to the bright stars above.

And out on soaking wings the south wind flew,
His ghastly features veiled in deepest gloom.
His beard was sodden with rain, his white hair drenched;Mists wreathed his brow and streaming water fell
From wings and chest; an
David Sarkies
May 01, 2014 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics Buffs and Poetry Lovers
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: poetry
A story of change and transformation
14 March 2014

The first thing that came into my mind as I was reading this book is a concept that was developed by the Ancient Greek philosopher Democritus: matter is never created or destroyed, it only ever changes form. Then there is the idea Ovid explores: the universe in which we live is in a constant state of flux. Granted, this is the second time that I have read this book (and in fact this particular translation, and I do plan on reading it again) and I
Jan 04, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I never quite finished this and will need to start again now. The problem was reading it before bed at night - there are so many stories and so many characters that keeping track of them all in that twillight between awake and asleep proved too much for me. But this is the Classical World's Bible, although much more interesting in that the stories are clearly meant to be taken as metaphor and there isn't endless boring bits where all that happens is praise for the jealous god.

The Greeks and Roma
Jan 09, 2017 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is six stars possible? Awesome .... just awesome.
Jul 18, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ovid falls in line with Lucretius and Virgil as one of Rome’s greatest poets. Metamorphoses compiles the myths inherited by the Greeks that helped define Roman culture. The focus, as one can tell by the title, is on change. Story after story details the transformation of one being in another. It is in change that Ovid finds his truth:
Nothing remains the same; the great renewer,
Nature, makes form from form, and, oh, believe me
That nothing ever dies. What we call birth
Is the beginning of a differe
Ahmad Sharabiani
1000. Metamorphoses, Ovid
اووید، ۴۳ ق. م. - ۱۷؟م
Metamorphoses, Ovid (from Greek)
Characters: Apollo, Hercules, Venus, Mars, Orpheus
عنوان: «افسانههای دگردیسی اوید»، اثر: «پوبلیوس اویدیوس نسو»؛ برگردان: «میرجلالالدین کزازی»، نشر: تهران، معین، چاپ نخست سال ۱۳۸۹، در ۶۲۲ صفحه، شابک: 9789641650348، موضوع: شعر یونانی -- ترجمه شده به فارسی

اووید، یکی از نامآورترین سخنوران «رومی» یا همان «لاتین» است، و میتوان وی را پس از «ویرژیل» و «هومر»، پرآوازهترین سخنسرای لاتین نامید. «افسانههای دگردیسی» در «پنجاه بخش»
Sergi Montes
Apr 27, 2016 Sergi Montes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi obra literaria favorita de todos los tiempos presentada en una edición fantástica con excelentes notas al pie. Las editoras demuestran un alto conocimiento de la obra de Ovidio y de la literatura clásica en general que me ha ayudado mucho en mis estudios universitarios y que ha expandido muchísimo mis conocimientos. Lo mejor que se ha hecho jamás, Ovidio era y será por siempre un gran maestro.
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Goodreads Librari...: Metamorphoses missing original publication date 3 14 Apr 25, 2017 12:04AM  
Loosed in Transla...: Ovid's Metamorphoses 9 1520 Jun 24, 2016 09:19AM  
Classical Literat...: The Metamorphoses Spoiler-free Discussion 8 119 Aug 24, 2014 11:33AM  
Classical Literat...: The Metamorphoses Discussion (with spoilers) 1 57 Jul 21, 2014 03:12PM  
Recommended translations? 9 112 Dec 10, 2013 09:15PM  
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Satyricon
  • The Golden Ass
  • The Eclogues and The Georgics
  • The Poems
  • The Odes of Horace
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • Homeric Hymns
  • Theogony/Works and Days (World's Classics)
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • An Ethiopian Romance
  • Medea and Other Plays
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • Epigrams
  • Idylls
Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18), known as Ovid (/ˈɒvɪd/) in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for collections of love poetry in elegiac couplets, especially the Amores ("Love Affairs") and Ars Amatoria ("Art of Love"). His poetry was much imitated during Late ...more
More about Ovid...

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“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ” 301 likes
“Fas est ab hoste doceri.
One should learn even from one's enemies.”
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