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Ars Amatoria ("The Art of Love"), Remedia Amoris ("Remedy of Love"), Medicamina Faciei Feminae ("The Art of Beauty") by Ovid. The History of Love by C.

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30 review for Ars Amatoria ("The Art of Love"), Remedia Amoris ("Remedy of Love"), Medicamina Faciei Feminae ("The Art of Beauty") by Ovid. The History of Love by C.

  1. 5 out of 5

    G.R. Reader

    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 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 three people in the theater stared at us. We ended up back at his place and I didn't see the end of the movie until I was 32. That's another story. Anyway, just to say that I love Ovid.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    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 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 book one of the Art of Love when the men and women are at the theatre - to see and be seen - there is a sudden unexpected contrast between the sophisticated modern Romans and their distant ancestors of Romulus' time also eyeing up the Sabine women just making their choices of which one to seize once the signal was given. Of a sudden Ovid is giving us an alternative picture of Roman history, not the drive to military conquest as the product of strategy, but of sexual conquest powering it to dominate the Mediterranean. Thanks to Ovid's vision, the simplest act of love subverts the stated public aims and ambitions of Imperial authority. Brilliant, a window on to another modern world now two thousand years old. The Melville translation came recommended, by whom I cannot remember. It worked for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    I was expecting these poems to feel ancient. And I mean REALLY ancient. And yet, there was something almost contemporary about them, as Ovid's language and tone was surprisingly fresh, wry and ironic. Maybe that's what disappointed me a little, is the fact I was hoping Ovid would transport me back to the ancient world, but it didn't feel like that at all. What didn't surprise is that he was a sly old devil when it came to women, and through his poems we see that he was clearly blighted by jealou I was expecting these poems to feel ancient. And I mean REALLY ancient. And yet, there was something almost contemporary about them, as Ovid's language and tone was surprisingly fresh, wry and ironic. Maybe that's what disappointed me a little, is the fact I was hoping Ovid would transport me back to the ancient world, but it didn't feel like that at all. What didn't surprise is that he was a sly old devil when it came to women, and through his poems we see that he was clearly blighted by jealousies and obsessions as he struggled through the pleasures and pains of love. I guess whether roaming about in ancient sandals or modern sneakers, love and desire is one thing that hasn't changed much over the oceans of time that has passed by. Great translation all things considering, but I'd query the layout of this version, although maybe that's just how it was supposed to be.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    THIS UGLY GUY: http://bookhaven.stanford.edu/wp-cont... IS FUCKING CHICKS LIKE THIS: http://www.theoi.com/image/F10.1Aphro... ----->CLICK HERE FIND OUT HOW<----- THIS UGLY GUY: http://bookhaven.stanford.edu/wp-cont... IS FUCKING CHICKS LIKE THIS: http://www.theoi.com/image/F10.1Aphro... ----->CLICK HERE FIND OUT HOW<-----

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    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 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 can love any, so she be not true." Ovid has "sive aliqua est," then moves to YOU, "sive es docta." So Donne has "borrowed" his shocking and dramatic shift of pronouns, 3rd to 2nd familiar, one of his noted achievements--from Ovid. ( Although Shakespeare also learned much from Plautus, and Publilius Syrus, his favorite Latin was Ovid, whom Dryden points out writes as in "drama,"with emotions "discomposed.") True, Ovid was banished to the outskirts of the empire partly because of the poems here that compare lovers and soldiers: they both stand outside all night under windows, they both are dedicated, they both...you get the picture.* Then Ovid adds: So, You go off to war, I'll soldier along at home with the girls. I read this during wartime, and it seemed like a good plan for me, two millennia later. But Ovid's plan completely undermined the hypocritical Augustus's military policies. (Gibbon says Augustus was so hypocritical that "Even his vices were pretended." Ovid also had something to do with Augustus's alienation from a young female relative.) It's a sad result of great poetry; Ovid spent his last years amongst barbarians--literally, bearded peoples who did not know Latin, rather like my generation of grad school Americans. He wrote plaintive verse requests to return to Rome from what's now Constanta, Romania. Perhaps I should revise my own saying on my Google author page, "Good teachers are fired, great teachers are killed: Socrates, Christ, and Giordano Bruno. Good poets are censored, great poets are banished, unpublished, or shot: Dickinson, Ovid and Pushkin." *Amores I.IX, shows how risky and wonderful Ovid's poems are. The equivalent today would be: You guys are great, go to Afghanistan, fight; I'll stay home with the girls you left behind. For we lovers are just like you soldiers, We stand out in the cold all night on watch, And it's a long hard road to victory For us both; we both play the lowly part To come out on top. War is doubtful, But believe me, Love's no sure thing. It goes on with great imagination, and leaves you thinking, You know, he's right. Soldiers and lovers both suffer, but which has the better reason? You can see why Augustus was pissed, though it's more likely something personal, his daughter's rebellion, he blamed on Ovid. Out at Tomi on the Black Sea, where nobody even spoke Latin, Ovid wrote a whole book of laments trying to get back in Augustus's good graces, Tristia, and then his letters, Epistulae ex Ponto. PS See my translation of Ars Amatoria 1.149ff (slight adapatation, referring to American football) on Goodreads, my writings.

  6. 4 out of 5

    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 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, written in about 16 BC and 1 BC respectively, are poetic lessons on how to convince Roman ladies to sleep with you. The Cures for Love, written around 2 AD, helpfully explains how to break things off when you’re done sleeping with said ladies. Medicamina Faciei Femineae is a short fragment from a 2,000 year old cosmetics handbook, basically. If it’s unclear from my tone I wasn’t blown away by this book. Part of that was the translation. Normally Oxford World Classics can be counted on to do a first rate job but I thought this translation by A.D. Melville was pretty weak. A lot of the verse comes across as sing-song and sort of silly. Given that it is love poetry it’s supposed to be light but this just felt amateurish. Now I don’t know how to read Latin, so I can’t pinpoint how much of this lies on Ovid’s shoulders and how much belongs to Mr. Melville. But I have read other works of Ovid before and he has sounded considerably better. If I revisit these at some future date I will certainly be trying a different translation. However, I think it will be a long, long time (if ever) before I take another crack at these and I would have a hard time recommending these poems to others. First of all, not only is this not top tier roman literature, I don’t even think this is the best collection of Augustan age elegies (I thought Propertius’ Elegies were better). So…I guess if you wanted to read the 2nd best book of love elegies written between 25 BC and 14 AD, this book is for you? Second, even if your answer to that question was yes, the book’s attitude towards women is…less than enlightened. Even poor Melville squirmed translating some of these lines, feeling the need to write in his introduction “Ovid’s attitude to women…may well be judged offensive by many readers. I share that opinion…these poems are the products of a younger man, brilliant and heartless.” I don’t know about the brilliant part (at least regarding these poems…some of his other stuff is tremendous), but Ovid can be pretty heartless. These are certainly the oldest poems I’ve ever read that attempt to satirize and make light of aborting your bastards, for instance. Anyway, I’ve written far more than I intended about this book. The most interesting thing about it may be that these poems were scandalous enough to help Ovid get exiled by a livid Augustus. Misgivings aside, even though I don’t think this is his best work Ovid knows what he’s doing and if you enjoy roman literature there are things to admire here. I would only recommend this book to people who really can’t get enough roman lit though, as my experience with this book was probably a 2.5 star read. However, I think many of my misgivings were a result of a poor translation so I will give Ovid the benefit of the doubt and round this up to 3 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    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?" '. 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?" '. A more literal translation would be 'who, cruel boy, gave you this right over poetry?', quite different in tone, I think, from Green. Green has also written a substantial introduction which gives biographical details in some length and outlines his position in reading Ovid. Again, I disagree with his stance which seems to me to be a very literal one, that is he assumes Ovid is writing autobiographically and takes all his evidence from the poetry, a dubious position I think. That aside, Ovid is a great poet and this is a very accessible volume for the general interested reader. However, for students I think this could be a barrier rather than a help and would stick to Loeb's Heroides and Amores.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    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 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 passion; the only difference between him and Catullus, then, it seems, is that Ovid is less crude, despite there being here a poem about a hopelessly flaccid penis ("looks like my penis drank the hemlock"). "The Art of Love" is here, the classic textbook for vacuous aesthetes, but alongside it are "The Amores", a collection of poems as sincerely sweet as can be (though Kierkegaard would say there is no paradox here, as evidenced by his "Seducer's Diary"). This particular edition includes a long and stimulating introduction, along with extremely copious notes and scholarship for each poem, which, together, make these poems as lucid and wonderful as can be.

  9. 4 out of 5

    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, probably cl 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, probably close to 2 ce What first struck me about Ovid's Amores was how unromantic they are. I think I was expecting beautiful musings or something like that. While Ovid plays with muses and especially on the idea of Cupid and his arrows, these poems are largely on petty problems with woman who are married or suspicious or whatnot. They are full-out sarcasm and humor on the surface, often quite rude or offensive in a way that leaves one suspecting that was the intention. It seems Ovid was first and foremost being clever, and intent on showing how clever he is. And most of what he accomplishes, he does so through cleverness. Melville tells me Ovid successfully undermined the whole of Roman love poetry, which had a long tradition, even has he wrote it, exposing it while mastering it. As a reader, I was left with the impression of writer who was never entirely serious, but also, at the same time, very serious. The poems drift from practical issues to mythology and back again, referencing a wide assortment of well known and obscure mythology (obscure even to well educated Romans). He also brings in a wide sense of world knowledge, referencing many writers and many oddities, even Judaism twice. Amores is the most complex of the works here and hard to summarize other than to say love poetry or humor based on it. The Art of Love is a faux-handbook for young men on how to find love. Full of humor, it crosses lines, mainly by implication. It apparently may have been the cause of Ovid's exile from Rome, announced personally by Augustus. Cures for Love is pure humor on ways to get over a relationship. It reads as if it was intended to be pared with The Art of Love. Cosmetics for Ladies is only partially preserved and is the guide the title suggests it is, but just done in clever poetry, mock seriousness and humor. Overall the tone lets the reader relax and just enjoy what Ovid's doing. I was entertained, and pretty content reading through these, casually. Sometimes I would get lost, but mostly he's fairly straightforward and Melville's translations are clear and his notes are good. Melville rhymes everything, which brings out some of the sense of play. But he's a little bland, and he can't replicate the Latin complexity. Moore read practically the same as Melville. Marlowe's additions were kind of special, but also, as I have just discovered, heavily altered by Melville. from Amores book 3, elegia vii - "Marlowe's version slightly modernized"Yes, she was beautiful and well turned out, The girl that I'd so often dream about, Yet I lay with her limp as if I loved not, A shameful burden on the bed that moved not. Thought both of us were sure of our intent, Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant. She round my neck her ivory arms did throw, Her arms far whiter than Scythian snow, And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue, And under mine her wanton thigh she flung. Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me sire, And used all speech that might provoke and stir. Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk, It humbled me, hung down the head, and sunk. (Marlowe's actual version can be found here (it helps to search for "Scythian"): https://www.gutenberg.org/files/21262... )

  10. 4 out of 5

    Crito

    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; we 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; wealth gives honors, Wealth makes a solemn judge, a haughty knight." But then a few verses later he reminds you of what the poem is about, which is a poet who is upset that women won't fuck him because poets don't pay the bills. This is a pattern, he commits far greater political blasphemies in other poems of which he is perfectly content with undermining by making them ridiculous and ironic. The poems in here work pretty coherently together and the general gag running through everything is this rendering ridiculous of poetry, mythology, and general relatable human experience. If a myth is invoked, and myths are always invoked, it is a punchline which goes both ways, such as comparing Scylla and Charybdis to places you used to hang out with your ex, or invoking the delphic mandate "know thyself" to advise the ladies to figure out which positions make them look best while getting railed. It trivializes the myths and grand tragedies, and creates a sarcastic reverence for the genuinely trivial stuff, since "The tragic style is grand; rage suits its buskins;/And daily life's the stuff of comedy." Nobody escapes except Ovid himself, who still wrings out great poetry in spite of his best efforts. You can be sure the Art of Love isn't a genuine instruction manual for love, nor is its "professor of love" anything but a wry Ovidian character. It's a sarcastic joke to be sure, but in it is a genuine poetic expression of the human efforts to attempt to rule themselves systematically by reason, which always spectacularly crumbles when the passions take over. The tips are cynical and calculated, but the implication is that if you genuinely fall in love then all that is impossible to keep up. To be sure, the goofs and gags have a purpose. Some of this prefigures the Metamorphoses as there are some truly rich and vivid recreations of myths, such as the rich Daedalus and Icarus retelling (which is told in the context of advice to keep your lover from leaving you.) And a lot of this prefigures the middle ages' ribald tales and poetry; yes there is cucking. There is a poem in the Amores where a man rejects his cheating wife, but then takes her back because her beauty convinces him, which is funny in the context of an earlier poem which claims beauty makes a woman licentious. On that note Ovid has some pretty positive views of women compared to his contemporaries; he sure doesn't like to show it, but that's part of the joke. Painting men as predatory as he does and writing a book for the women's side of things is pretty progressive for 2 AD. He just won't shy from really ostentatious shock humor; if he's going to retell the rape of the Sabine women as a way to mock both the Emperor and pick up artists he's going to do it. You take what you can get. I read this edition alongside the Penguin edition of The Erotic Poems, and this edition has the better poetry, the other is far more loose and colloquial than it really should be. It was still useful as a means of triangulating where the original might be coming from. Also some jokes are Latin exclusive, if you can read it that way you shouldn't even be here. It also helps to have wikipedia or a mythology handbook nearby because his references are so wide and consistent that even I had to look up quite a few names despite being very familiar with Greek texts. While Ovid pleads you not to take him seriously, this is a collection of works which I'd really advise anyone not to overlook in favor of jumping straight into Metamorphoses as his singular contribution. It's a fun read and there's more depth here than you might expect. Strong Recommendation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evin Ashley

    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 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 minds: it profits much." (p.91) Nothing sexier than the challenge of wooing a bird-brain. "First tell yourself all women can be won: Just spread your nets; the thing's good as done." (p.94) The "thing" being sleeping with married women. He actually said he prefers sleeping with wives and hiding from their husbands in the bushes. "Though she deny them (kisses), take what she denies. Perhaps she'll first resist and call you rude, Yet, while resisting, longs to be subdued. But careful, lest her tender lips be scarred / By snatching, and she cry: 'You kiss too hard.'...'Brute force!' you'll say: it's force that women want, They love refusing what they long to grant." (p.105) Yes boy o boy do we love it. I think Ovid gave necessity to the phrase, "No means no"! A**hole. "Brute that I was, I mauled her forehead, I used my nails to scratch her delicate face. She stood distraught, her features pale and bloodless, Like marble quarried from the hills of Greece. I saw her numb and faint, her body quivering...Her tears, long-hanging, down her cheeks came flowing...so my crime's sad signs may last no longer - Set your hair straight and put it back in place." (p.14) OMFG. Ovid the pervert also recommends a great way for women to woo men is to literally steal from them. But then he goes on a tirade about how he cannot afford to buy presents for the many mistresses in his life, and how it frustrates him to no end. He also only describes women as "girls", and only in relation to how they make him feel (generally frustrated), never pausing to imagine their feelings, not once. God forbid one ever actually become vexed at him though, or cry; here's his genius remedy for assuaging the matter: "Nor give her anger time to force...Into your bosom take the weeping thing; Kiss her, caress her, though she weep and weep: This way comes peace, and anger's put to sleep. When in full cry, on war she's plainly bent, Propose adjourning bedward; she'll relent." (p.120) When the "thing" is in "full cry", y'all! Speaking of watery substances, his wisdom keeps flowing: "When man by cautious woman is refused, She just wastes water which she might have used. No, don't be whores; just banish from your thought / Vain fears of cost: your giving costs you nought." (p.130) Ovid is on full-charm mode here. This vessel of vulgarity ends with, "Cured now, both man and woman, by my song." (p.173) OMG, only "cured" because this is done. The only benefit of reading this book was it bringing me one book closer to my yearly Goodreads goal.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bookishnymph *needs hea*

    I would have liked more lovemaking and less bickering. But not bad.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    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. 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    This was beautiful to read. Funny, satirical, and wondefully written. Melville's translation was thoroughly enjoyable. This was beautiful to read. Funny, satirical, and wondefully written. Melville's translation was thoroughly enjoyable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    AB

    Ive got a soft spot for Roman love poetry and Ovid hit the spot. Why the Metamorphoses is more popular is beyond me. His Amores are far better. My only gripe was with the first 2 books of The Art of Love for the great crime of being ever so slightly less playful and witty than the rest. I need to talk about Peter Greens translation and notes. They are unbelievably good. They took in depth foot notes to a whole other level. Extremely detailed but full of gusto. None of that drab vapid style you s Ive got a soft spot for Roman love poetry and Ovid hit the spot. Why the Metamorphoses is more popular is beyond me. His Amores are far better. My only gripe was with the first 2 books of The Art of Love for the great crime of being ever so slightly less playful and witty than the rest. I need to talk about Peter Greens translation and notes. They are unbelievably good. They took in depth foot notes to a whole other level. Extremely detailed but full of gusto. None of that drab vapid style you see in today's classics academics. He's the type of scholar I strive to imitate.

  16. 5 out of 5

    grace

    terrible translation - hovers at "overzealous" with occasional gems/horrors such as "skyey" and references to clearly anachronistic bras terrible translation - hovers at "overzealous" with occasional gems/horrors such as "skyey" and references to clearly anachronistic bras

  17. 5 out of 5

    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 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 say, I was rather surprised and slightly disappointed by how short it is-- much shorter than what I expected a work of such fame to be. I finished the whole thing in one day, and in episodes-- between errands, meals, and conversations. I could've probably finished it in less than an hour had I devoted a full block of time and attention solely to the book. The unexpected brevity of the work wasn't too distressing, I must say, as it gave me time to go back through underlines and notes, as well as look up names of gods and legends to which the author alludes, that I don't immediately recognize. I was reminded of old heroes I once loved in the Greek classics, as well as introduced to old customs I had not yet ventured in my readings. Ars Amatoria is followed by Remedia Amores in the anthology, but I jumped to Medicamina Faciei Femineae because it seemed like a more natural trajectory to go from the Art of Love to the Art of Beauty before immediately exploring the cure. I must admit it was the least favorite of mine, perhaps because it did not satisfy my expectations. The title itself-- Art of Beauty -- led me to anticipate a profound analysis on the philosophical branch of aesthetics. Instead, what we get are prescriptions for beauty treatments, common to what you can get in every issue of the tawdriest woman's magazines in the world-- or the beauty boards on Pinterest. It made me wonder-- even worry-- that a man should fancy himself to know more about women's beauty than women themselves. We have plenty of such men in today's fashion world, but they seduce only amongst their own sex. Ovid claims to know not only how to seduce women, but also about women's fashions, beauty, and how they can best seduce and retain men. Quite a prodigy indeed. No wonder he calls himself Apollo's priest and faithful follower of Venus. He's a bit conceited and somewhat delusional by modern standards, but that's what makes Ovid so much fun to read. He is a relic from that golden past, impossible to replicate today. His poetry is wordy, exaggerated, pompous and false-- as false as his feigned belief in all the gods and goddesses he worships. Yet, he is the first to admit his follies and never makes claim to any virtue. This transparency is what makes his works such a marvel to read. I also love how his writing changes with his mood-- it goes from casual to extremely solemn and poetic. I simply love the elevated language, the mock solemnity, the frequent allusions to Greek classics, and the gems of literary wisdom derived therein. Remedia Amoris was not disappointing, it remains true to its title and uses medical imagery throughout. A good read for the broken-hearted and blissfully happy alike, for it serves not only as a remedy, but very well as a preventive antidote. Like a vaccine protects the body before disease, so the seeds found therein can someday serve to desensitize a future pain-- for such things do come to pass under the sun, as they have been forever. Amores was the longest work, and I would say the most pleasant. This work is composed of three books which focus on the poet's relationship with his mistress Corinna. The books are composed of fifteen elegies each, all which describe the various aspects of love, with all its highs and lows, the trysts, tactics, lies, dramas, bliss, the self-imposed sufferings, the indecision, and all the little things that make youth bittersweet and memorable. Despite the moralistic critiques that the book received in Ovid's time and ever since, the work remains a classic because whether prudes admit it or not, love and sex are universal themes. "Avaunt! ye prim and prudish ones. No fitting audience, ye, to strains that sing of tender love....Farewell, ye heroes with illustrious names; not yours to bestow, the favours that I crave. But as for you, my charmers, look sweetly on the songs which rosy Cupid singeth in mine ear." Amores 2.1

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    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 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's finer commentary escape. The translator's notes then are a needed aid for a feel of all the texture that Ovid has arranged in to his poetry. The necessary consequence of the elaborate writing is a set of poems that are densely packed. If the reader does by chance move through Ovid in quick order, a rereading will almost certainly reveal as much as was encountered in their first traversal. Ovid does not restrict himself to communicating by the bare text alone, and, without a doubt, his use of pretext and context--as with the odd juxtaposition of some poems as well as the discrete affinity of others--projects meaning that otherwise aren't found within his metre. The Erotic Poems are certainly involved in a discussion about love. But don't be fooled by appearances; Ovid is as much ridiculing the Roman style of love, sex, and romance, as he is celebrating it. There are definite undertones of a political nature in the poetry. Though whether it involves a general critique of Augustan Rome, or instead takes aim at the war-like virtues that were all the rage--this author cannot decide. There also appears a recurring them of elegy, especially its place in the company of epic and tragedy. Whether Ovid thinks it deserves equal rank? Or rather should revel in its junior status?--this much cannot be answered here. Connected with Ovid's guilty pleasure for elegy is his self-absorption for his own worth, and the haughty awareness he possesses for his own standing as a poet and literati in Roman life. Whether he is simply championing himself? Reproving his critics? Or has a more subtle message to send? Again, my mind is not decided. Let me say two more things. One quick about Ovid's style. And another about the translation. Ovid's poetry exudes creativity. And he does a masterful job drawing his observations to the truly dramatic moments that punctuates the course of Love. His poems however do reveal a steady structure. Not only is his rhyme fixed to a set metre, but he frequently develops individual poems along the same arc. They often feature an elaborate introduction, which sets the problems and creates the mood. Then, as Love's chauffeur, he deigns to advise or opine on the subject. After which he descants for some length either by recollecting mythological characters from epic or tragedy or by sophisticated analogies to life and nature. Though always able, and incredibly beautiful in his writing, this same pattern of expansion is tiring; and Ovid would have done well to experiment with other devices more often. As for the translation: the adherence to the verse itself is ignored and instead keeps the translation as literal, and colorful as possible. That leaves many wonderful moments. We have still magical combination of words such as "chuckling water-channels"; or attention to the focus of sentences "In bed as in war, old men are out of place./ A commander looks to his troops for gallant conduct,/ A mistress expects no less." But this is not accomplished everywhere. And one of my favorite lines, for example, has been remade. What the translator put down "none but you shall be sung/ In my verses, you and you only shall give my creative/ Impulse its shape and theme." Compare that with my formulation "And I shall always be your poet/ And you shall always be my theme."

  19. 5 out of 5

    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 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 still so relevant to today’s world. Even while the same laws aren’t in place, similar concepts remain constant. For example, a lot of his writing tries to assure the reader that he is not giving them advice for committing adultery or having a liaison with a highborn woman — while we are a bit more free with our views, or are at least jaded enough to accept that adultery happens, if someone were to publish a book with advice for how to successfully commit adultery, they would be heavily criticized in our society (especially America). So, while we don’t really have laws against it here, it’s still taboo, which is an interesting thing to talk about. Another thing I loved about this particular version is the translation. Green is a hero. He is so good at translating not only just the words but the flavor of them in English that we can understand. Pop culture phrasing and literary devices are used with skill what he feels is Ovid’s attitude, which I found to be wonderful. This version is one of the most readable translations I’ve read of this particular collection because of that, and I immensely appreciated it. I understand that some might find this collection a tough read, with the formal language and numerous mythological allusions, but even with my rudimentary understanding of mythology, I was able to grasp the basic allusions and still enjoy his language and storytelling. If you’re into classics, for sure read this one. It’s an interesting look at Roman culture during Ovid’s time, and Green does a fantastic job in giving an easily readable translation and enough background history for the reader to understand the context in which it was written. I admit that it won’t be for everyone, but I enjoyed it. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cdrueallen

    If you think poetry - especially old Roman poetry - is full of men recounting overly ornate tales of battle and nursing their centuries old grievances in antique prose, then you’ll be in for a delightful surprise when you read Peter Green’s translation of Ovid’s Erotic Poems. These witty, frivolous, and cynical stories about the love affairs of an upper-class Casanova in the age of Augustus are more amusing and less pretentious than ninety percent of poetry written since. Ovid takes nothing exce If you think poetry - especially old Roman poetry - is full of men recounting overly ornate tales of battle and nursing their centuries old grievances in antique prose, then you’ll be in for a delightful surprise when you read Peter Green’s translation of Ovid’s Erotic Poems. These witty, frivolous, and cynical stories about the love affairs of an upper-class Casanova in the age of Augustus are more amusing and less pretentious than ninety percent of poetry written since. Ovid takes nothing except poetry seriously, especially himself. He gives women advice on how to wheedle money out of men, and men advice on how to keep from being wheedled. He tells his girlfriend it’s her fault if her hair has fallen out because she dyed and curled it too often. He waxes sweet and sentimental about the death of his Corinna’s parrot. He pleads with the Goddess of Childbirth to spare Corinna’s life when she has an abortion. He writes about the intimate details of women’s lives as if they were as important and interesting as the wars and rivalries of men. If you want an antidote for your exhaustion after trying once again to get through the Iliad, this is it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    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 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 one of the funniest poems I've ever read.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    On the facial treatment of ladies is the best title

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peter Banachowski

    If you're a fan of old literature I recommend this book. The title is semi misleading as I thought this would be more a book of eroticism, but it's more intimate musings. There's one poem that stands out to memory of a man lamenting the fact that he beat his lover. It was an odd tale, but it's interesting to get a glimpse of a complex emotional state from over a thousand years ago (not to sympathize with the abuser) and see how complex emotions have stayed relatively the same over the last coupl If you're a fan of old literature I recommend this book. The title is semi misleading as I thought this would be more a book of eroticism, but it's more intimate musings. There's one poem that stands out to memory of a man lamenting the fact that he beat his lover. It was an odd tale, but it's interesting to get a glimpse of a complex emotional state from over a thousand years ago (not to sympathize with the abuser) and see how complex emotions have stayed relatively the same over the last couple thousand years.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andreea Reads

    Did now expect Ovid's Poems to be as good as I found them to be! Did now expect Ovid's Poems to be as good as I found them to be!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrada

    Oh, my, some parts of this have really not aged well! And knowing only a bit about Augustus, it’s very easy to guess why the Ars Amatoria got Ovid exiled. Its first book alone would have been enough. Not only did Ovid blatantly proclaim the debauchery of his time at a point when Augustus was big on morality and virtue, he also named places built and dedicated by the imperial family as popular locations for beginning illicit affairs. The same section of the Art of Love also contains a romanticise Oh, my, some parts of this have really not aged well! And knowing only a bit about Augustus, it’s very easy to guess why the Ars Amatoria got Ovid exiled. Its first book alone would have been enough. Not only did Ovid blatantly proclaim the debauchery of his time at a point when Augustus was big on morality and virtue, he also named places built and dedicated by the imperial family as popular locations for beginning illicit affairs. The same section of the Art of Love also contains a romanticised account of the rape of the Sabines which as a woman filled me with dread as well as a short encouragement to force as something women want. In Ovid’s defence, the subject doesn’t really come up again and all of his advice seems to be for a cunning pursuit, mutual love game and consummation thereof which makes him sound a bit more like Casanova than one of those lovely founders of Rome. The Ars Amatoria gets a bit repetitive as when the perspective changes to women a lot of the advice and situations are simply reversed to fit the other side. All the ills he was trying to teach men how to overcome he advises women to make for their lovers. A third repetition appears in the Remedia as a deconstruction, the situations and examples are the same, the advice diametrically opposed. The Amores are probably the best thing about this collection. They trace love in the elegiac fashion while gently(and at times not too gently) mocking it. They occasionally drop the guise of idealized love to discuss the reality of love affairs as in the poem discussing abortion or strike a more serious tone as in the eulogy to Tibullus. They are Ovid at his most playful, teasing, jeering, but still very humane. Perhaps in the Ars Amatoria, he is too full of himself, too riled up by his popularity and his tone – that friendly wit – becomes too biting or condescending at times as if inviting reprimand. I am quite curious now to read some of his works in exile and see what tone he adopted in them. Wit was Ovid’s greatest weapon, did he still have the courage to use it when it banished him from the centre of his world? I did not care much for the translator of this edition’s introduction and notes. The introduction was far too didactic and instead of offering more information about Ovid and his work, he strayed far too much into technical discussions of poetry and its composition. The notes as well were at times filled with irrelevant anecdotes that added absolutely nothing to the understanding of the text.

  26. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Ancient set of poems on themes of love and desire...a little quaint by modern standards, sometimes dipping to the droll. But that may be the fault of the translator. And yes, I had some problems with him, most notably his all-too-modern terminology (I highly doubt "bump and grind" ever came out of Ovid's mouth or pen. But I may be wrong). That, at times, had me almost putting the book down. Nonetheless, it's been on my tbr list for far too long and now, finished. If you enjoy ancient poetry...Ho Ancient set of poems on themes of love and desire...a little quaint by modern standards, sometimes dipping to the droll. But that may be the fault of the translator. And yes, I had some problems with him, most notably his all-too-modern terminology (I highly doubt "bump and grind" ever came out of Ovid's mouth or pen. But I may be wrong). That, at times, had me almost putting the book down. Nonetheless, it's been on my tbr list for far too long and now, finished. If you enjoy ancient poetry...Honestly, I wouldn't put this at the top of my list of things to read, it did give me a laugh here and there (Not sure if Ovid intended that but I'd like to think so). So, you might find some tidbits here to make it worth the time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Woodman

    Ovid was a poet during the lengthy time that Augustus was the emperor of Rome. He was from an equestrian family in the north of Italy, but unlike Virgil, he loved Rome. He loved the plays, the music, the parties, and the people. He thrived on the city life. Unfortunately for him, he made a mistake and Augustus banished him to a distant, cold, and inhospitable place for the rest of his life. The work that he is best known by lay folk like me for was Metamorphosis, which he wrote while in exile in Ovid was a poet during the lengthy time that Augustus was the emperor of Rome. He was from an equestrian family in the north of Italy, but unlike Virgil, he loved Rome. He loved the plays, the music, the parties, and the people. He thrived on the city life. Unfortunately for him, he made a mistake and Augustus banished him to a distant, cold, and inhospitable place for the rest of his life. The work that he is best known by lay folk like me for was Metamorphosis, which he wrote while in exile in the hopes that Augustus would be pleased and allow him to come back to Rome. No such luck befell Ovid, but his work relied upon many ancient sources, some of which no longer exist, so he did modern man a favor, or at least those modern men who wanted to know more about the myths and legends of the ancient world. The Erotic Poems were the work of Ovid's heart. The Amores are elegaic poems that were written by a young man. They describe a consuming love, fueled by equal parts passion and jealousy, that ends badly. The emotions are strong, almost frightening at times, and always frank. The Art of Love poems are written in middle age, when passion has cooled a bit. They are instruction manuals for men and women interested in fomenting love. He is a teacher of the art of love, an apprentice at the knee of Cupid. The Cures for Love are intended for the man who cannot survive love. Ovid is a healer, giving instructions in how to manage an addiction to love that had failed. The writing is frank, understandable, and in many ways it seems quite contemporary.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rivka

    Rereading this was me playing “let’s pretend I don’t have a gazillion books on my tbr”, just cos I wanted to see if this was as funny and wonderful as I remembered and… it was better! Not only was this witty and subtly satirical, but it also had some of the best descriptions of myths *anywhere* (which I’d somehow completely forgotten about)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    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 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 text. And then there's the sub-text. What if it was impossible to be taken serious -- or to survive -- by critiquing the Roman state, and the "moral fibre" that it upheld? It seems a good way to do so would be to encourage promiscuity, encourage attacking the institutions that were essential to its survival: gold, marriage, war, imperialism, and so on. Ovid, it seems, is a clever poet. Not a victim to Cupid, but a renegade iconoclast.

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