J. Alison, Change Me. Stories of Sexual Transformation from Ovid

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Jane Alison, Change Me. Stories of Sexual Transformation from Ovid. Foreword by Elaine Fantham, and Introduction by Alison Keith, Oxford, 2014.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
208 pages
ISBN : 978-0-19-994165-0
£ 12.99


Ovid's stories melt moral conventions, explore ambiguities, and dissolve boundaries between men, women, animals, gods, plants, and the mineral world; in doing so they contrive to seduce readers. Ovid's dark pleasure in telling such stories with a full register of tones is palpable. But the stories of sexual encounter in the Metamorphoses are also infused with deep questions. What does it mean to have thoughts and passions trapped inside a changeable body? What is a self, and where are its edges? If someone can pierce you in sex and in love, how do you survive? And if your outer form changes, what lasts?
In Change Me, Jane Alison, critically acclaimed author of The Love-Artist, renders substantial portions of Ovid's great epic into elegant and remarkably faithful English. Her focus is on episodes that involve desire, sexuality, and the transformations brought about by powerful emotion; because these themes are so central to the Metamorphoses, Alison introduces them with a selection of elegies from Ovid's Amores, the collection with which the poet launched his career. When these selections are taken together, Alison's Ovid comes alive; the Roman poet's great ability to perform contemporary themes through mythical subject matter, and vice versa, is Alison's guiding principle and Muse. Change Me will transform forever readers' experience of this most ingenious of poets.

The thematically organized translations are lucid, apt, precise, and playful
Elaine Fantham's Foreword places Ovid in his Augustan context
Alison Keith's introduction offers an overview of gender and sexuality in the ancient world
Incorporates sixteen color plates from classical antiquity that illustrate Ovidian themes
Audio recordings (read by Alison) of sixteen selected passages are available at www.oup.com/us/alison

Jane Alison's previous works on Ovid include her first novel, The Love-Artist (2001) and a song-cycle entitled XENIA (with composer Thomas Sleeper, 2010). Her other books include a memoir, The Sisters Antipodes (2009), and two novels, Natives and Exotics (2005) and The Marriage of the Sea (2003). Currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, she has an A.B. in Classics from Princeton University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

Table of Contents
Foreword: Elaine Fantham
Introduction: Alison Keith
FROM Amores
1.3 It's only fair
1.4 So your man will be at the dinner party
1.5 In slips Corinna
2.12 I've won!
3.4 Guarding that girl gets you nothing
3.11 I'm through with your tricks
3.12 She's on sale thanks to my talent
FROM Metamorphoses
1. Arachne (6.1-145)
A young weaver challenges the goddess of weaving, Minerva, with a cloth that portrays the gods' sexual exploits.
2. Daphne (1.452-567)
Apollo sees this wild girl and wants her. He chases her, terrified, through the forest.
3. Actaeon (3.138-252)
Actaeon, a young hunter, sees the virgin goddess Diana naked. It's a mistake, but she will punish him.
4. Echo and Narcissus (3.339-510)
Echo can only repeat the words of others. Seeing beautiful Narcissus, she flings herself at him, but he is interested in no one but himself.
5. Perseus and Andromeda (and Medusa) (4.614-803)
Winged Perseus, carrying Medusa's snaky head, is almost stilled midair when he sees Andromeda, chained as a sacrifice to a sea monster.
6. Arethusa (5.577-641)
A young huntress swims in a strangely still stream, whose god looms up to pursue her.
7. Pygmalion (10.243-297)
An artist disgusted by the promiscuous women around him sculpts his dream girl out of ivory.
1. Io (1.568-746)
Io is raped by Jove, then turned by him into a heifer to protect her from jealous Juno. Now speechless, Io wanders.
2. Callisto (2.401-507)
A huntress faithful to Diana is raped by Jove and struggles to hide her pregnancy from the goddess she loves.
3. Europa (2.833-875)
Jove, disguised as a white bull, lures young Europa onto his back.
4. Hermaphroditus and Salmacis (4.285-388)
The beautiful son of Mercury and Venus attracts the attention of Salmacis when he swims in her personal pool.
5. Proserpina (5.346-576)
Proserpina is picking flowers when the Underworld god, Dis, sees her and wants her.
6. Ganymede (10.143-161)
Jove loves this Trojan boy and becomes an eagle to abduct him.
1. Semele (3.253-315)
Juno, enraged that Semele has been sleeping with Jove, tricks her into insisting that Jove come to her in all his fiery power.
2. Tereus, Procne, and Philomela (6.424-673)
Tereus, sent to fetch his wife's sister for a visit, becomes violently obsessed with her. His passion leads to catastrophe.
3. Scylla (8.6-151)
The daughter of King Nisus, who is at war with Minos, falls in dangerous love with the enemy.
4. Hyacinth (10.162-219)
Apollo loves this boy and abandons his usual pursuits to be with him, but a game of discus will separate them.
5. Adonis (and Atalanta) (10.503-739)
In love with Adonis, Venus warns him not to hunt savage animals; she tells the story of the runner, Atalanta, who was likewise warned—not to marry.
6. Glaucus and Scylla (13.898-14.69)
Fish-man Glaucus loves Scylla, but she wants none of him. Enchantress Circe wants him, though, and is vindictive when refused.
1. Byblis and Caunus (9.454-665)
Byblis falls in love with her brother and plots to seduce him. She decides to send him a letter, which she can never take back.
2. Myrrha (10.298-502)
Myrrha, in love with her father, tries to kill herself to escape disaster but fails and pursues him, helped by her nurse.
3. Hippolytus (15.497-546)
When Hippolytus refuses his stepmother's approaches, she accuses him of trying to seduce her.
1. Tiresias (3.316-338)
Juno and Jove argue over who enjoys sex more, man or woman. They ask Tiresias, who has been both.
2. Iphis and Ianthe (9.666-797)
Iphis is raised secretly as a boy so that she won't be killed by her father. But she falls in love with another girl and despairs over what to do.
3. Orpheus and Eurydice (10.1-85)
When poet Orpheus loses his bride, Eurydice, he follows her to the Underworld. There his music wins them a reprieve but with a condition.
4. Caenis (12.146-209)
Neptune rapes Caenis on the beach and asks her what she'd now like as a gift. Her request will ensure she's never raped again.

Alison Keith is Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto She has written extensively about the intersection of gender and genre in Latin literature, and is the author of The Play of Fictions: Studies in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 2 (Ann Arbor 1992), Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic (Cambridge 2000), and Propertius, Poet of Love and Leisure (Duckworth 2008); and the co-editor (with Stephen Rupp) of Metamorphosis: the Changing Face of Ovid's Metamorphoses in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Toronto 2007) and (with Jonathan Edmondson) Roman Dress and the Fabric of Roman Society (Toronto 2008).
Elaine Fantham is Professor of Classics Emerita, Princeton University


Source : Oxford University Press


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