On Ovid's Metamorphoses
by Gareth Williams
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Pub Date 03 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 05 Apr 2023
Ovid’s Metamorphoses has entranced audiences for two thousand years, from Rome under Augustus to humanities classrooms today. Borrowing liberally from Greek and Roman mythology, the poem tells hundreds of stories that share one essential theme: each tale depicts a transformation from one physical form into another.
Drawing on many years of teaching the Metamorphoses, Gareth David Williams offers a brisk and lively reading of the poem that emphasizes why it speaks in compelling ways to a twenty-first-century audience. He shows how the Metamorphoses is not just a colorful collection of stories about change but an exploration of change itself. Ovid challenges us to recognize flux as fundamental to human experience: circumstances shift, fortunes ebb and flow, and our very identities ceaselessly evolve across from one life stage to another.
Capturing the energy and excitement that Ovid’s poem generates among readers, Williams also sheds new light on its modern provocations. His fresh interpretations of the Metamorphoses reveal its power to enrich and inform our daily existence amid the uncertainties of life today.
Gareth Williams is Anthon Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Columbia University. He has published extensively on Ovid, Roman philosophy, and classical reception.
A Note From the Publisher
part of the Core Knowledge series
“The perfect sidekick to accompany readers on their journey through Ovid’s epic- whether approaching the Metamorphoses for the very first time or revisiting this ever-changing kaleidoscope of a poem”
— Genevieve Liveley, University of Bristol