Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Metamorphoses” as Want to Read:
The Metamorphoses
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Metamorphoses

by
4.05  ·  Rating details ·  54,126 ratings  ·  1,394 reviews
A masterpiece of Western culture, this is the first attempt to link all the Greek myths in a cohesive whole to the Roman myths of Ovid?s day. Horace Gregory, in this modern translation, turns his own poetic gifts toward a deft reconstruction of Ovid?s ancient themes.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Signet (first published 8)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Metamorphoses, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Eladir The best ancient works have many different translations. That's a good problem to have and there is no universal answer. All translations detract from…moreThe best ancient works have many different translations. That's a good problem to have and there is no universal answer. All translations detract from the original work, research a bit, try different ones and find the one that suits you best. Maybe read multiple ones too.

Personally, I went with Horace Gregory since it's the one Griffin uses to narrate the audiobook and I enjoyed it immensely.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  54,126 ratings  ·  1,394 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
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.
...more
Vit Babenco
Nov 14, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Book the First: “Of bodies chang’d to various forms, I sing” The world is a constant changes… Everything moves and one thing always changes into the other.
The earth was created by the god unknown as a sphere hanging in space… And life there was an idyll: no crimes, no enmity no wars… “From veins of vallies, milk and nectar broke; And honey sweating through the pores of oak.”
But then the human history started and the deterioration began… “Truth, modesty, and shame, the world forsook: Fraud, avari
...more
Lisa
"Throughout all ages,
If poets have vision to prophesy truth, I shall live in my
Fame."

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
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
1000. Metamorphōseōn librī = The Metamorphoses = Books of Transformations, Ovid
The Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythic-historical framework.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و نهم ژانویه سال 2014 میلادی
عنوان: افسانههای دگردیسی اوید، اثر: پوبلیوس اویدیوس نسو؛ برگردان: میرجلا
...more
Best Eggs
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-drama
I just had to quote this from a review I read: "DNF at almost halfway through. Too much depravity and immorality for me." There's a lot of depravity and immorality around now too. How does one cope? lol

Perhaps they would have disagreed with the author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free ? (I don't think I should recommend one of my favourite dirty books, the beautifully-written, utterly depraved (although surprisingly moral, depen
...more
C
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, own
What the fuck Ovid. Save some brilliance for the rest of us.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
There's honestly something deeply fascinating to me about reading the words of someone who lived 2000 years ago, who wrote these exact words 2000 years ago, and though I completely understand why reading translation is done - I think reading translated lit is amazing - it is undoubtedly more interesting to read this word-by-word, to see connotations and derivatives and line breaks and literary devices.

So yes, I read this in the original Latin! With the help of a lot of vocabulary lists because
...more
Michelle
The great thing about Ovid's “Metamorphoses” is that it doesn't force you to take it so seriously. It’s still remarkably vivid, considering its age, and there is hardly a dull moment in it. You can actually read it just for pure pleasure. Its wild stories about transformations from one shape to another can be so entertaining, that your first reaction in reading it probably won't be to ask yourself weighty questions like "Hmm, I wonder what insights this ancient book offers into the structure of ...more
Riku Sayuj
Jan 19, 2012 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
...more
Darwin8u
Nov 11, 2011 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

description

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
...more
Bradley
I read this for one of those bucket-list reasons, having read a bunch of scholarly articles in college that constantly quote from Ovid... but I had NEVER READ THE ORIGINAL.

Alas. How many years has it been, with that guilt slowly creeping up on me?

So I did it. I read Ovid.

And I fell in love.

What the hell was I thinking? Avoiding this? I mean, how many damn mythology books have I read that go on and on about all the Greek classics, touted for their clear and concise styles, but really what I sho
...more
Manuel Antão
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


Cleverus Dickus: "Metamorphoses (Norton Critical Edition)" by Ovid (Author), Charles Martin (Translator)


“God himself helps those who dare.”


in "Metamorphoses (Norton Critical Edition)" by Ovid (Author), Charles Martin (Translator)


When I think on Ovid and Shakespeare, my own poetic streak resurfaces. Read at your own peril (word of warning: If you don't know either your Shakespeare or your Ovid, what follows won't make much sense):


Sente
...more
Edward
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Preface
Chronology
Introduction & Notes
Further Reading
Translator's Note


--Metamorphoses

Notes
Glossary Index
Map of Ovid's Mediterranean World
Praj
Mar 31, 2011 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
Emer (A Little Haze)
Read as part of the ABN Summer Reading Challenge recommended by Gabby.

I'd meant to read this for years but it seemed somewhat daunting clocking in at 700 odd pages but honestly I breezed through this book like it was half that length. It's utterly accessible for which I give the translator David Raeburn huge credit. His translation is pacy, rhythmic and filled with fantastically helpful notes which make it utterly engaging for the lay classicist reader like myself.
And Ovid... He was born in 43B
...more
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
BrokenTune
Jun 19, 2017 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
...more
Akemi G.
Jun 23, 2016 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
...more
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
Czarny Pies
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who have previously read modern anthologies of Greek and Roman myths.
Shelves: greek-and-roman
This book should be an absolute delight to anyone interested in European literature or art. Written in the first century AD it represents the first effort to anthologize Greek mythology and integrate the whole into the history of the Roman empire. I only regret that as undergraduate I never took a course with this work on the program.

Having read the Metamorphoses without the benefit a classics professor to guide me I am quite glad that it was not the first collection of Greek myths that I read.
...more
Joe
Jan 08, 2009 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 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" Graye
NARCISSUS AND ECHO:

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"
...more
Matthew Appleton
Pure awesomeness. More awesome than a jet ski that could fly into space at will and have a little bubble to encompass the rider like Buzz Lightyear's helmet. Cooler than that.
Jonathan
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable translation indeed. Highly recommended. But much will depend on how much you are put off by some expanding of the original, and some rhyme (both internal and line-end). For example:


"A fisherman, who with his pliant rod
was angling there below, caught sight of them;
and then a shepherd leaning on his staff
and, too, a peasant leaning on his plow
saw them and were dismayed: they thought that these
must surely be some gods, sky-voyaging.

Now on their left they had already passed
the isle
...more
Inkspill
Raeburn’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a Penguin publication and is dubbed as a New Translation. This complemented my reading of a translation written in older English by Arthur Golding my review is posted here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show....

Told in a selected collection of assorted Greek and Roman myths, Ovid takes the reader on a journey leaving the notion that Augustus, the ruling Roman emperor of his day, is a descendent of the gods. It’s a big finish; one of the last sto
...more
Roman Clodia
Apr 13, 2017 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
...more
poncho
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Sarkies
May 01, 2014 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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ovid's Metamorpho...: Book Twelve 8 13 Aug 20, 2019 08:45PM  
Ovid's Metamorpho...: Book Eleven 43 16 Aug 19, 2019 08:41AM  
Ovid's Metamorpho...: * Book Eight - 1st April 2019 99 17 Jul 14, 2019 10:29AM  
Ovid's Metamorpho...: * Book Seven - 4th March 2019 114 17 Apr 03, 2019 05:32AM  
Loosed in Transla...: Ovid's Metamorphoses 10 2990 Mar 24, 2019 09:36AM  
Never too Late to...: Epic: October - December Ovid's Metamorphoses 40 23 Nov 22, 2018 07:36AM  
Ovid's Metamorpho...: Book Thirteen 1 2 Sep 22, 2018 06:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Odes and Epodes
  • Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica)
  • Homeric Hymns
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Poems
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • The Odes
  • The Georgics
  • Ten Plays
  • Callirhoe
  • Epigrams
  • Theogony and Works and Days
  • An Ethiopian Romance
  • Sophocles II: Ajax/Women of Trachis/Electra/Philoctetes (Complete Greek Tragedies 4)
  • Orlando Furioso
  • Sappho: A New Translation
  • The Golden Ass
  • The Satyricon and The Apocolocyntosis
See similar books…
795 followers
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
“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. ” 360 likes
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”
"Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.”
282 likes
More quotes…