Description

This is a published volume of Tales from Ovid, with some minor annotations and corrections in Ted Hughes’s own hand. Between 1994 and 1997 the poet translated 24 passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, published as Tales from Ovid in 1997 by Faber & Faber. It was Hughes’s second from last major collection, and had developed out of his translation of four tales for After Ovid, New Metamorphosis (1995) edited by M Hofmann and J Ladun.

Born in 42 BC, Ovid is celebrated as one of the greatest Roman poets. Beginning with an account of the creation of the world, Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a single poem that contains 15 books and over 200 myths centred on moments of physical transformation between gods, demigods, mortal humans and animals. Hughes’s retellings are regarded as masterful translations. They achieve the accuracy of the original text, but are so saturated with Hughes’s own poetic and narrative qualities that they stand alone as works of modern poetry. In 1998 Hughes's translation was awarded the Whitbread Book of the Year.

Hughes’s interest in ancient Greek and Roman mythology led him to adapt and translate several works throughout his career, including an adaptation of Seneca's Oedipus (1968) and translation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy (1999).

At the time of working on Tales from Ovid Hughes was finalising Birthday Letters, the collection of 88 poems about this relationship with Sylvia Plath that would be published in 1998.

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