Books

The Fall of Icarus

Ovid

'Drawn on by his eagerness for the open sky, he left his guide and soared upwards...'

Ovid tells the tales of Theseus and the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus, the Calydonian Boar-Hunt, and many other famous myths.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Ovid (c.43 BCE-17 CE). Ovid's other works available in Penguin Classics are The Erotic Poems, Fasti, Heroides and Metamorphoses.

Metamorphoses

Ovid (and others)

Ovid's deliciously clever and exuberant epic, now in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectable editions are bound in high-quality, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

Ovid's sensuous and witty poetry brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation - often as a result of love or lust - where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best-known myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy. Erudite but light-hearted, dramatic yet playful, theMetamorphoses has influenced writers and artists throughout the centuries from Shakespeare and Titian to Picasso and Ted Hughes.

Ovid (43BC-18AD) was born at Sulmo (Sulmona) in central Italy. Coming from a wealthy Roman family and seemingly destined for a career in politics, he held minor official posts before leaving public service to write, becoming the most distinguished poet of his time. His works, all published in Penguin Classics, include Amores, a collection of short love poems; Heroides, verse-letters written by mythological heroines to their lovers; Ars Amatoria, a satirical handbook on love; and Metamorphoses, his epic work that has inspired countless writers and artists through the ages.

David Raeburn is a lecturer in Classics at Oxford, and has also translated Sophocles' Electra and Other Plays for Penguin Classics.

Denis Feeney is Professor of Classics at Princeton.

The Metamorphoses

Ovid (and others)

One of the founding texts of Western literature, the Metamorphoses is nevertheless anything but earnest or off-putting. Ovid’s sequence of fifteen witty and playful poems sketches the history of the world from its creation to the poet’s own time through a series of transformation myths in which gods and goddesses succumb to all-too-human passions, not least in the matter of love. Frequently translated, imitated and paraphrased.

The Art of Love

Ovid

The perfect gift for Valentine’s Day

TRANSLATED BY TOM PAYNE AND INTRODUCED BY HEPHZIBAH ANDERSON

The Art of Love may have been written in the days of gladiators and emperors, but Ovid remains the smartest teacher on the subject of love in all of history, and his advice is enduringly useful and entertaining. Between these covers you'll find all you need to know about where to meet a new beau, how to handle illicit affairs and how to maintain your allure. This edition also contains the companion volume The Cure for Love - in case things don't work out.

Metamorphosis

Ovid (and others)

Mary Innes's classic prose translation of one of the supreme masterpieces of Latin literature, Ovid's Metamorphosis.

Ovid drew on Greek mythology, Latin folklore and legend from ever further afield to create a series of narrative poems, ingeniously linked by the common theme of transformation. Here a chaotic universe is subdued into harmonious order: animals turn to stone; men and women become trees and stars. Ovid himself transformed the art of storytelling, infusing these stories with new life through his subtley, humour and understanding of human nature, and elegantly tailoring tone and pace to fit a variety of subjects. The result is a lasting treasure-house of myth and legend.

'The most beautiful book in the language (my opinion and I suspect it was Shakespeare's)' - Ezra Pound

Ovid was born in 43 BC in central Italy. He was sent to Rome where he realised that his talent lay with poetry rather than with politics. His first published work was 'Amores', a collection of short love poems. He was expelled in A.D. 8 by Emperor Augustus for an unknown reason and went to Tomis on the Black Sea, where he died in AD 17.

Mary M. Innes graduated from Glasgow and Oxford Universities and subsequently taught in the universities of Belfast and Aberdeen, before spending some twenty years proving to schoolgirls that classical languages can and should be enjoyed.

The Serpent's Teeth

Ovid

In a world of gods and monsters, nothing is as it seems.

When a deadly serpent's teeth are sown in the ground, warriors spring from the bloody soil. Only a great man can tame them and fulfil his destiny. Far away, Medusa, snakes writhing in her hair, meets her nemesis; the princess Andromeda is chained to a rock; people are transformed into owls, frogs, even mountains; a boy falls tragically in love with his own reflection.

Enter a universe where love is cruel, men are destroyed by the gods and treachery is paid for in blood ...

Fasti

Ovid (and others)

Written after he had been banished to the Black Sea city of Tomis by Emperor Augustus, the Fasti is Ovid's last major poetic work. Both a calendar of daily rituals and a witty sequence of stories recounted in a variety of styles, it weaves together tales of gods and citizens together to explore Rome's history, religious beliefs and traditions. It may also be read as a subtle but powerful political manifesto which derides Augustus' attempts to control his subjects by imposing his own mythology upon them: after celebrating the emperor as a Jupiter-on-earth, for example, Ovid deliberately juxtaposes a story showing the king of the gods as a savage rapist. Endlessly playful, this is also a work of integrity and courage, and a superb climax to the life of one of Rome's greatest writers.

The Erotic Poems

Ovid (and others)

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 in the notorious Art of Love, in which he provides a knowing and witty guide to sexual conquest - a work whose alleged obscenity led to Ovid's banishment from Rome in AD 8. This volume also includes the Cures for Love, with instructions on how to terminate a love affair, and On Facial Treatment for Ladies, an incomplete poem on the art of cosmetics.

The Metamorphoses

Ovid (and others)

Bringing together a series of ingeniously linked myths and legends, Ovid's deliciously witty and poignant Metamorphoses describes a magical world in which men and women are transformed - often by love - into flowers, trees, animals, stones and stars. First published in 1567, this landmark translation by Arthur Golding was the first major English edition of the epic, which includes such tales as the legend of Narcissus; the parable of Icarus; and the passion held by the witch-queen Circe for the great Aeneas. A compelling adaptation that used imagery familiar to English sixteenth-century society, it powerfully influenced Spenser, Shakespeare and the character of Elizabethan literature.

Heroides

Ovid (and others)

In the twenty-one poems of the Heroides, Ovid gave voice to the heroines and heroes of epic and myth. These deeply moving literary epistles reveal the happiness and torment of love, as the writers tell of their pain at separation, forgiveness of infidelity or anger at betrayal. The faithful Penelope wonders at the suspiciously long absence of Ulysses, while Dido bitterly reproaches Aeneas for too eagerly leaving her bed to follow his destiny, and Sappho - the only historical figure portrayed here - describes her passion for the cruelly rejecting Phaon. In the poetic letters between Paris and Helen the lovers seem oblivious to the tragedy prophesied for them, while in another exchange the youthful Leander asserts his foolhardy eagerness to risk his life to be with his beloved Hero.

Biography

Publius Ovidius Naso was born in 43 BC at Sumo in Central Italy. He was expelled from Rome by the emperor Augustus in AD 8 for some unknown offence. He published poetry throughout his life.


Harold Isbell is a renowned translator.