Composed in Latin in the early years of the 1st century by the Roman poet Ovid, the "Metamorphoses" presents a collection of tales of transformation based on Greek mythology and legend. Michael Simpson's prose translation of Ovid's masterpiece in the rapid and direct American idiom aims to catch the swiftness and clarity of the Latin original. His introduction sketches the poet's life, describes his extant works, discusses his unusual exile to the west coast of the Black Sea (where he died) and provides a useful context for reading the "Metamorphoses". Simpson has also prepared extensive endnotes that serve as mini essays, illuminating the manifold aspects of the poem and offering commentary and interpretation that should enable readers to enter Ovid's magical world and enjoy its richness.
"Simpson conveys the rapid flow of Ovid's wonderful mythological, epic-style poem in clear, accessible, and straightforward prose. The running commentary that accompanies the translation offers interesting and sometimes challenging interpretations, informed by recent scholarship and a concern with the meaning of the poem for a wide audience."
Michael Simpson is professor of classics in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is author of Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The "Library" of Apollodorus (University of Massachusetts Press, 1976).