Friday, February 15, 2013

Ovid's Metamorphoses

I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses at the moment. I resolved to read a poem a day from it, so I can pursue other books at the same time.

Stories from Greek mythology that Ovid incorporated into his Metamorphoses have inspired painters through the ages.

The basic theme of the Metamorphoses is that everything changes. Some of these mythological stories show creatures changing species or gender. There are great tragic love affairs and horrible betrayals of the closest and most innocent family members. In the beginning, the world was created from an immense formless mass, the first metamorphosis. Gradually, the changes Ovid describes move from the world of the gods to the world of humans, although the gods are still there, around the edges, and the human Julius Caesar is deified. In the final book, the philosopher Pythagoras gives some non-mythic explanations for metamorphoses.

Melvyn Bragg explores the enduring appeal of the Roman poet Ovid's work Metamorphoses. With A.S. Byatt and A. Catherine Bates.

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