Ovid, Amores (Book 1)
William Turpin, Vassar College
Copyright Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 9781783741649
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
Conditions of Use
Excellent treatment of the first book of Ovid's Amores. Provides information about the life of Ovid, scansion, the textual tradition (!). Each poem has a thorough introductory essay that directs students to possible interpretations of the poem and... read more
Excellent treatment of the first book of Ovid's Amores. Provides information about the life of Ovid, scansion, the textual tradition (!). Each poem has a thorough introductory essay that directs students to possible interpretations of the poem and what to look for. There is a great deal of commentary (maybe even a bit too much for an intermediate student), and a full glossary with the frequency of each word listed -- excellent for deciding what is worth a flashcard.
I found no errors in fact or data.
Author avoids tacky pop cultural references, maintaining a timeless style in the commentary. This is not that author eschews dealing with sensitive subjects like intimate partner assault (1.7) and racism (1.13).
But for the explanation of the textual tradition which is written in a technical style that clashes with the student-friendly tone of the rest of the text, the text is written lucidly. The formatting, font, and special symbols for scansion are quite easy to read. The overall package is quite attractive
Consistent throughout, I was surprised that unlike other volumes the commentary stayed at approximately the same volume and length throughout the book, instead of weaning students off the assistance. This may be from the knowledge that a class may not use all of a text but may pick and choose favorite poems.
Each individual poem can stand on its own.
Follows the poems
It is a rather attractive production
Text is standard, clear English, no typos that I saw, no infelicities of grammar.
Text treats the potential hot-button topics in Ovid like intimate partner violence and racism. Does not do so in an ideological way, and is a little tepid, but that provides space for the teacher to engage with the topics pointed out in the text.
I will likely adopt this text. In addition to the features mentioned above (the thorough commentary, good introductory essays, glossary with frequency of each word), there are a couple other excellent benefits of this textbook. It takes advantage of it being an online book. For example, in the suggested readings, everything has a DOI number, so students can go immediately to the article mentioned (provided their library gives them access to it, of course. Mine won't but that's not the book's fault). Also, there are readings in meter for all of the poems on youtube, linked at the end of the intro essays. For the print version there is a QR code that goes to the individual readings. As mentioned above, the textual tradition section was a bit detailed and technical for an intermediate student, but may still bear some interest. The other introductory essay about Ovid is tepid. The essay on scansion has probably more detail than a beginning student can master on one reading, but it presents excellent reasons why scansion is vital both for understanding a poem but for understanding the language as well. An excellent, good looking book, and it is remarkable it is open.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: The Life of Ovid
- Chapter 2: The Amores
- Chapter 3: The Manuscript Tradition of Ovid's Amores by Bart Huelsenbeck, with the assistance of Dan Plekhov
- Chapter 4: Select Bibliography
- Chapter 5: Scansion
- Chapter 6: Epigram: preface from the author
- Chapter 7: Amores 1.1: Ovid finds his muse
- Chapter 8: Amores 1.2: Conquered by Cupid
- Chapter 9: Amores 1.3: Just give me a chance
- Chapter 10: Amores 1.4: Secret signs
- Chapter 11: Amores 1.5: The siesta
- Chapter 12: Amores 1.6: On the doorstep
- Chapter 13: Amores 1.7: Violence and love
- Chapter 14: Amores 1.8: The bad influence
- Chapter 15: Amores 1.9: Love and war
- Chapter 16: Amores 1.10: Love for sale
- Chapter 17: Amores 1.11: Sending a message
- Chapter 18: Amores 1.12: Shooting messengers
- Chapter 19: Amores 1.13: Oh how I hate to get up in the morning
- Chapter 20: Amores 1.14: Bad hair
- Chapter 21: Amores 1.15: Poetic immortality
- Full vocabulary for Ovid's Amores, Book 1
About the Book
From Catullus to Horace, the tradition of Latin erotic poetry produced works of literature which are still read throughout the world. Ovid's Amores, written in the first century BC, is arguably the best-known and most popular collection in this tradition.
Born in 43 BC, Ovid was educated in Rome in preparation for a career in public services before finding his calling as a poet. He may have begun writing his Amores as early as 25 BC. Although influenced by poets such as Catullus, Ovid demonstrates a much greater awareness of the funny side of love than any of his predecessors. The Amores is a collection of romantic poems centered on the poet's own complicated love life: he is involved with a woman, Corinna, who is sometimes unobtainable, sometimes compliant, and often difficult and domineering. Whether as a literary trope, or perhaps merely as a human response to the problems of love in the real world, the principal focus of these poems is the poet himself, and his failures, foolishness, and delusions.
By the time he was in his forties, Ovid was Rome's most important living poet; his Metamorphoses, a kaleidoscopic epic poem about love and hatred among the gods and mortals, is one of the most admired and influential books of all time. In AD 8, Ovid was exiled by Augustus to Romania, for reasons that remain obscure. He died there in AD 17.
The Amores were originally published in five books, but reissued around 1 AD in their current three-book form. This edition of the first book of the collection contains the complete Latin text of Book 1, along with commentary, notes and full vocabulary. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, this book will provide an invaluable aid to students of Latin and general readers alike.
This book contains embedded audio files of the original text read aloud by Aleksandra Szypowska.
About the Contributors
William Turpin studied at Vassar College and took degrees in Classics and Ancient History from St. Andrews, Toronto, and Cambridge. Since 1982 he has been a member of the Classics department of Swarthmore College, teaching courses in Greek, Latin, and Ancient History. Most of his publications are articles on the history of Roman Law, but he has also written on Tacitus, Horace, and Ovid's Amores 1.1. He has written a commentary for students on Apuleius, Metamorphoses III (Bryn Mawr Classical Commentaries) and is working on more commentaries for students, on Horace, Satires I, Tacitus' Agricola, and a number of Medieval Latin texts. In the summer he teaches online reading courses in Medieval Latin (free and open to all), intended for students at the early intermediate level and above; information is posted on the website for the Swarthmore College Department of Classics.