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The Erotic Poems

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,054 ratings  ·  83 reviews
This collection of Ovid's poems deals with the whole spectrum of sexual desire, ranging from deeply emotional declarations of eternal devotion to flippant arguments for promiscuity. In the "Amores", Ovid addresses himself in a series of elegies to Corinna, his beautiful, elusive mistress. The intimate and vulnerable nature of the poet revealed in these early poems vanishes ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published February 24th 1983 by Penguin Classics (first published 2)
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4.11  · 
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 ·  2,054 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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G.R. Reader
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was about seventeen, and I was sitting on my own in this movie theater watching Sommaren med Monika, and this guy sat down next to me. He leaned over and started whispering one of the dirtier bits from Amores in my ear. I slapped his face on reflex (I wasn't thinking straight, and it was so weird to switch from Swedish to Latin), and a second later I realized it was my Classics teacher, who I had a major crush on.

We both looked at each other, and then we started giggling helplessly. The other
Lente currite noctis equi - hurry slowly horses of the night.

This slim volume is your one-stop shop for the private lives of the leisured classes of early Imperial Rome, where adultery is the favourite contact sport with abortion as it's only risk. How to fall in love, how to fall out of love, contraception, go-betweens, how to behave, how to dress to make the right impression on your lover - it's all here in a collection of poems passionate and cynical by turn.

But then also at the beginning of
Since I began these in my graduate school Ovid course, they have been my standard for poetry (along with 17C English poets), witty and urbane--mostly in "elegiac" verse form, though far from the requiems previously in that verse form. Donne learned so much from Ovid his famous "The Indifferent" mostly translates, in his first stanza almost literally, Ovid's Amores II.iv. Both tell how they can love the tall women, the short, the smart etc, concluding: "I can love her and her, and you and you,/ I ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rome, poetry


Evan Leach
This book contains the Amores, The Art of Love, The Cures for Love, and the surviving fragment from the Medicamina Faciei Femineae. Basically this collection contains all of Ovid’s surviving poetry from before his exile outside of the Heroides, the Fasti, and the Metamorphoses. I loved the Heroides so I thought I’d mow through these before tackling the Metamorphoses.

I would break the four sections down individually but honestly they are all awfully similar. The Amores and the Art of Love, writt
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was my unfortunate circumstance to develop a passion for someone whilst reading this flawless collection, so my appreciation was perhaps tinted by quite unrelated moods. But to appraise these poems, they range from the ardent to the cynical, and Freudian psychology is practically laid out in full (seriously, did Freud not read these before writing his Interpretation of Dreams? The entire method of that book is expounded in one 16 line poem here). Ovid is at once hilarious and burning with pas ...more
Daniel Chaikin
28. Ovid : The Love Poems (Oxford World's Classics) translated by A. D. Melville
Introduction: E. J. Kenney
other translations used B. P. Moore's 1935 translation of The Art of Love, & Christopher Marlowe translations for Amores 1.5, 3.7 & 3.14
published: 1990
format: Paperback
acquired: Library
read: June 18 - July 7
rating: ??

Contains four collections of poems:
Amores - 16 bce
Cosmetics for Ladies - date unclear, but before The Art of Love
The Art of Love - 2 ce
Cures for Love - date unknown, pro
Roman Clodia
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Ovid is one of my favourite poets but I do have misgivings about this translation. It's great if you're interested in reading Ovid's love poetry for pleasure, but if you're studying it at any level then it's quite far from the original text.

Green's translations are all a bit too jaunty and try-hard for me. For example, in 1.1.5 where the Latin is 'quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?' Green translates this as ' "nasty young brat," I told him, "who made you Inspector of Metres?" '.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The thing to learn about Ovid is while he's a poet to be read seriously, he isn't to be taken seriously. He wraps himself in blankets of irony to where if there were any less he would be taken as an ill tempered cynic rather than the really fun and considered character he can be. Take III.8 in the Amores for example which at one point turns into a seemingly embittered social critique:
"Not food but gold we dig for;
For money soldiers shed their blood and fight.
The Senate's shut to poor men; weal
Jan 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ovid really comes across as a smug, fatuous prick in these poems. I can't think of anything good to say about it, except that it does provide some background for social relations in Rome at the time.
Lady Jane
I had always wanted to read at least one of Ovid's erotic elegies and didactic poems on the art of seduction. This February, in honour of Saint Valentine's Day, I finally had the time and opportunity to obtain this charming anthology with all the LOVE-ly works of his. I opened it up and started the anthology by reading Ars Amatoria even though it was second in the sequence (preceded only by Amores) because Ars Amatoria has been on my "Books To Read Before I Die" list for quite some time.

I must
May 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ovid is a scoundrel and a creep; I'm glad Augustus banished him to the Black Sea. These poems have nothing to do with erotica, and I only give it one star for rhyming consistently and being relatively brief. I pity Ovid, having not the courage to pursue integrity.

Check out these gems:

"I may lack weight but not virility; And fun's the food that fortifies performance - No girl has ever been let down by me." (p.42) LOL

On being attentive to a potential (female) lover: "Small things please little min
Whitney Thompson
I had to read this for a class. I'm giving this two stars purely because Ovid is a complete misogynist, and it shows in these poems. I can't bring myself to give this a higher rating. As fuel for an intellectual discussion... these poems are interesting, I won't lie. And I know misogyny was very much the norm for Roman civilization. However, I still can't get past his constant treatment of women as objects, as prizes to be won, as things to be conquered. (I will say, though, that Amores 1.1 is o ...more
Bookishnymph *needs hea*
I would have liked more lovemaking and less bickering. But not bad.
This was beautiful to read. Funny, satirical, and wondefully written. Melville's translation was thoroughly enjoyable.
terrible translation - hovers at "overzealous" with occasional gems/horrors such as "skyey" and references to clearly anachronistic bras
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful collection of poems. The selection assembled in this little book is proportioned nicely so that a set of poems can, if the reader fancies, be perused at one sitting--not the whole book in its entire, but its natural divisions.

The style of writing itself is not difficult to read, as some poetry can be. But Ovid is a very deliberate writer, and he inserts references to mythology and politics, now remote in time, that can be foreign to the uninitiated, and thereby let the meaning Ovid
Alyssa Nelson
I started reading this collection a long, long time ago back in the days of college, but other things came up and since I wasn’t assigned to read the whole thing for college, I didn’t end up finishing it. Finally, it came up on my reading list, so finally, I got around to reading the whole thing.

A few things struck me while reading this. I admit, I was biased to look for it, because the whole point as to why excerpts from it were assigned in college is that a lot of what Ovid talks about is stil
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's like any great work of literature: one can read the surface text and understand it in a limited way; or one can look a bit deeper and discover the genius. On the surface of these poems -- The Amores, The Art of Love, and Cures for love -- it seems to be a well-outdated prescription for a very misogynistic way for men and women to get together in "loving" relationships. Yet, knowing (for Ovid) that love had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage, suddenly this becomes a much more radical tex ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this with Brian. I think he picked this book expecting it to be romantic and racy. Instead, we both spent a lot of time giggling at things that likely weren't meant to be funny and railing (not too seriously) against the ever-present misogyny and hypocrisy.

Still, it was an entertaining read.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I don't think this book is erotic in the way we currently use the word "erotic." Rather, it is "erotic" in that it's contents pertain to Eros.

Still, an enjoyable look at courtship and seduction from 2000 years ago.
May 24, 2013 marked it as fini  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, poetry
From Antiquity, the all-about, how-to poetic guides to seeking and keeping love.
Gene Ramsey
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From 2005-2006, this was my favorite book. The rhythm. The rhyme. The substance. I love this book.
May 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Thoroughly enjoyable.
An extremely readable translation with excellent supplementary material.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
On the facial treatment of ladies is the best title
Kate Atonic
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are really quite lovely and bawdy and earthy.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university-reads
I love Ovid's style of writing! Can't get enough of the cynicism and view of love as sport. Studied it twice now and with growing appreciation would be happy to read it again!
Andreea Covaleov
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did now expect Ovid's Poems to be as good as I found them to be!
Strong Extraordinary Dreams
Ignore the blurb, this is an instruction book: how to deal with chicks. The Red Pill.

It's fine, the advice is somewhat manipulative but goal orientated... but it was written 2,000 years ago (let's say) so it kinda rocks.

Worth the time.
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  • Civil War
  • Epigrams
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  • The Odes
  • The Complete Poems
  • Selected Letters
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  • The Plays and Fragments
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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
“All right, boy, skewer me. I've dropped my defenses,
I'm an easy victim. Why, by now
Your arrows practically know their own way to the target
And feel less at home in their quiver than in me.”
“Brass shines with constant usage, a beautiful dress needs wearing,
Leave a house empty, it rots.”
More quotes…