The Metamorphoses or "Transformations" is an epic that is truly "epic" in scope, beginning with the creation of the universe and ending with the world of contemporary Rome. It is composed of a series of stories, Greek and Roman myths that Ovid shapes and weaves together into a continuous history of gods and humans. As the title announces, the central theme is one of constant change, and we see gods and humans amazingly transformed from one shape to another. The poem recasts and preserves most of the major Greek and Roman myths that are familiar to us, often in surprising ways. Ovid was known for his wit and cleverness, and in the poem he explores the nature of love, power, change, deception, the nature of art, and personal identity. He, like Virgil, also explores what it means to be Roman, but in a much more subversive way. Ovid's poetry was seen as so subversive, in fact, that the emperor Augustus exiled him to the town of Tomis on the Black Sea, where he continued to write, never to return to his beloved Rome. Annotation by Professor Wally Englert.
Finalist of the 1994 Pulitzer prize for poetry.
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