Nov 08, 11
Read in November, 2011 — I own a copy
I had to read this for ENG150Y1Y, The Literary Tradition, and let me tell you, I've waited the whole term to read this book. It's just the whole mono thing impeded my progress...but I caught up. I tried, anyway.
Why do I love this so much more than the prior books? Well, unlike the other 'poets,' Ovid's seems so much more poetic. It's - to be blunt - less boring, and the subject matter is inherently so interesting. It's about change, constant flux, stuff turning into other stuff.
And how does he tell this? From the beginning of time to his own time, of course! Yes, he goes through all of history, giving us what's essentially a ton of short stories about mythological figures doing stuff to one another. Expect some fucking horny gods, because if they're male, they've probably raped at least three girls in this book, all of which in the name of undying love (and then we never hear about them again).
I mean, the women aren't especially nice too. This one wife feeds her husband their kid after she learns he raped her sister. That story was the least nice. The child even says "I love you, mommy," and then she cuts him up with a sword. That's fucking heartless.
We also have this strange god, Bacchus, whose cult seems to signify the effects of alcohol on people. It's really strange whenever he appears, since he looks like a girl but is really a boy in the sexual sense, and there's always vines and ivy with his presence, as well as completely entranced cult followers who will do whatever is necessary to maintain the cult. We have more mothers beheading their sons as they scream "mother, what are you doing?"
I don't know. It's tons of fun stories. It's probably the ancient literature book to read, maybe even moreso than the Odyssey, which was my entry point. At least Ovid says everything rather beautifully.