Tales from Ovid Paperback
by Ted Hughes
When Michael Hofmann and James Lasdun's ground-breaking anthology After Ovid (also Faber) was published in 1995, Hughes's three contributions to the collective effort were nominated by most critics as outstanding.
He had shown that rare translator's gift for providing not just an accurate account of the original, but one so thoroughly imbued with his own qualities that it was as if Latin and English poetwere somehow the same person.
Tales from Ovid, which went on to win the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, continued the project of recreation with 24 passages, including the stories of Phaeton, Actaeon, Echo and Narcissus, Procne, Midas and Pyramus and Thisbe.
In them, Hughes's supreme narrative and poetic skills combine to produce a book that stands, alongside his Crow and Gaudete, as an inspired addition to the myth-making of our time.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 01/05/1997
- Category: Poetry by individual poets
- ISBN: 9780571191031
- Paperback from £8.19
- EPUB from £10.38
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Review by shanaqui
Ted Hughes' translation/interpretation of some of the tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses is a really good example of the way translation is always an interpretation -- he's played to that, and used anachronistic images and modern language, and created something dynamic and energetic and entirely his. It's much like the way Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage took Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and used their own dialects to flavour it, bringing in what felt appropriate to them and what might make the old stories more interesting to a modern audience. You might disagree with the decision, but the vitality is undeniable.<br/><br/>The stories themselves, well, they've always been some of my favourite mythology. Ted Hughes didn't translate all of these stories -- I really need a good version that does, perhaps for my Kindle -- but he translates some good ones. I love the story of Arachne, and there's a lot to be said for the story of Pygmalion or Midas or... Yeah, I just kind of love Ovid.