Ovid's Heroines: A Verse Translation of the Heroides

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9780300050943: Ovid's Heroines: A Verse Translation of the Heroides

The "Heroides", written by Ovid some 2000 years ago, consists of a series of imaginary letters by legendary females of antiquity to their hapless lovers or husbands. The verse letters - purportedly penned by such heroines as Helen, Medea, Penelope, Dido, and Sappho - are the outpourings of women who have been cruelly victimized, yet they are written in the witty and ironic tone for which Ovid is famous. As a source of inspiration for other poets, as a model for the episotolary novel and the dramatic monologue, and as feminine footnotes to Greek prehistory, the letters have fascinated readers from Ovid's time to the present. The "Heroides" is now available in a verse translation written by the poet Daryl Hine. His rhymed couplets convey Ovid's unmistakable voice, by turns frivolous and pathetic, learned and racy. Each of the 21 letters (18 by women and 3 by thier lovers) is preceded by a translator's note identifying the writer and her lover and sketching the relevant background. A chronological rearrangement of the poems, to accord with mythological time, is intended to enhance their value as a companion to any reading of classical literature and mythology.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

From Library Journal:

The Heroides is a collection of letters penned by Ovid, writing in the guise of some of the most famous heroines of Greek literature. While the writers' voices change, the theme remains the same: each has been mistreated or neglected by her lover or husband. To preserve a sense of the original meter, Hine has translated the poems into rhymed couplets. Like most translators, Hine has varying degrees of success with this difficult marriage of rhyme scheme and faithful translation. While these literary renderings are entertaining reading for the classical enthusiast who does not read Latin, students needing a literal translation will find better works. Therefore, only the largest collections will want to add this work.
- Marjorie F. MacKenzie, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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