non-latin-specific query about Ovid Metam.

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hlawson38
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non-latin-specific query about Ovid Metam.

Post by hlawson38 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:46 pm

Ovid's transformed beings often describe the way they experienced transformation. In the fairy tales I've encountered before, the transformation is usually described externally; hence, for me, these subjective accounts in Ovid are striking.

Is this concern for the subjective experience of transformation really a distinctive feature of Ovid?

Hylander
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Re: non-latin-specific query about Ovid Metam.

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:17 pm

Ovid often tells his stories from unusual and unexpected perspectives (even though his versions of myths have become canonical). Among other things, he takes bald myths and invests them with human details (even when the protagonists are gods) that bring the characters to life. Two small examples: Juppiter kicking the foundations of the earth after the flood to make sure they're still sound; the Sun trying to dissuade his son Phaeëton from taking the reins of the chariot--just like a father's reluctance to give his teenage son the keys to the car. There is also so much playfulness in Ovid's narrative: Homeric and Vergilian parody, stories within stories within stories, told in first-person narratives; and sometimes black humor, as in the Actaeon myth.

Which specific stories from Ovid are you thinking of?

hlawson38
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Re: non-latin-specific query about Ovid Metam.

Post by hlawson38 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:42 pm

Hylander wrote:Ovid often tells his stories from unusual and unexpected perspectives (even though his versions of myths have become canonical). Among other things, he takes bald myths and invests them with human details (even when the protagonists are gods) that bring the characters to life. Two small examples: Juppiter kicking the foundations of the earth after the flood to make sure they're still sound; the Sun trying to dissuade his son Phaeëton from taking the reins of the chariot--just like a father's reluctance to give his teenage son the keys to the car. There is also so much playfulness in Ovid's narrative: Homeric and Vergilian parody, stories within stories within stories, told in first-person narratives; and sometimes black humor, as in the Actaeon myth.

Which specific stories from Ovid are you thinking of?
I'm at the end of Book XIII, where Glaucus describes his transformation to Scylla, line 920ff. I don't recall the other instances, because I've been reading this work over about four years in bits. But I remember my feeling because I often comment to Anita my wife about what I'm reading. In her working life she was an English lit professor, and knows literary subtleties that escape us history drudges. Glaucus communicates his own experience of his transformation.

Concerning Ovid's playfulness, I have been struck by its resemblance to the playfulness of the old movie cartoons. I even did a little web search to see if Walt Disney had been classically educated. No joy there, but perhaps some of his writers were. It seemed to me from the very beginning with the flood scenes that Ovid's portrayal (in my mind's eye) recalled some of these old cartoons, which sometimes featured wacky transformations.

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