Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes, with some autograph corrections

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.

Full title:
Edward James Hughes Papers: Tales from Ovid
Published:
Faber & Faber, 24 Russell Square, London
Publisher:  
Faber & Faber
Created:
1997; whole volume 28 May 1997–7 October 1997
Format:
Book / Manuscript annotation
Creator:
Ted Hughes, Ovid
Usage terms

Ted Hughes: © The Ted Hughes Estate. No copying, republication or modification is allowed for material © The Ted Hughes Estate. For further use of this material please seek formal permission from the copyright holder.

© Reprinted by permission of Faber & Faber Ltd.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 88918/4/21

Full catalogue details

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An introduction to Birthday Letters

Article by:
Neil Roberts
Theme:
Literature 1950–2000

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An introduction to Tales from Ovid

Article by:
Andy Armitage
Themes:
Fantasy and fairy tale, Literature 1950–2000

Andy Armitage explores how Ted Hughes's beliefs about myths shaped his Tales from Ovid, and how his adaptation of a classical work can be read alongside his intensely personal last volume of poetry, Birthday Letters.

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Article by:
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Theme:
Literature 1950–2000

Ted Hughes believed that poetry had the power to heal and transform, to change perceptions and to alter states. Like many of us, Simon Armitage first encountered Hughes’s poetry at school and was captivated by his ability to distill the complexity of human experience. Here he explores some of Hughes’s themes and interests and the impact he had on his own life and work.

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