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by: Chanah Fallin

metamorphoses.pdf engl 2200

Chanah Fallin

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Notes for World Literature before 1600, for Metamorphoses
World Literature before 1600
Lindsay Doukopoulos
Class Notes
World literature before 1600, Metamorphoses, Lindsay
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chanah Fallin on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to engl 2200 at Auburn University taught by Lindsay Doukopoulos in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see World Literature before 1600 in ENGLISH (ENG) at Auburn University.

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Date Created: 02/12/16
Metamorphoses: ovid *epics embody the dominant values of culture. 1. roman v. greeks 2. epic style and mock epic 3. theme: permanent change (paradox, oxymoron) 4. ovid v. virgil in augustan rome the roman empire: 300 bce-300ce “greek civilization began with a poem, the romans had conquered half the world before they learned how to read” (odyssey…romans are more militarialistic society) -rather than create their own literary traditions, roman lit begin by stealing the greek’s -translated from ancient greek into latin (thats why gods are known by multiple names). around the time of christ, we get the major roman authors including ovid. -adopted the greek pantheon and named them after the planets ^ epic lit. -homer is to greek epic, what virgil is to roman epic -epics: long narrative poems, governed by conventions, written in dactylic hexameter (stress on one syllable) -ovid’s metamorphoses follows these rules but breaks one conventions -what makes his epic different from homer’s and all others. theres no hero, no one to look up to. what do we get instead? “my mind leads me to speak now of forms changed into new bodies: o gods above, inspire this undertaking (which you’ve changed as well) and guide my poem in its epic sweep from the world’s beginning to the present day” ovids popularity famed for writing amres and ars amatoria: explicit and salacious material very popular with masses, unpopular w augustus caesar and emperors augustus: working to unify rome by tradition, monogamy and family values apothiosis: He becomes his poem, he turns it back to himself virgil v. ovid augustus loved virgils epic and hated ovids. why? doesn't satisfy convention. he wants to conquer the enemy “majestic power and erotic love do not get on together very well” why didn't apollo stop loving her when she was turned into a tree? what would she need to turned into in order to keep him from loving her? “european literature and art would poorer for the loss of the Metamorphoses than for the loss of Homer” -hadas ^all the influence homer has had over later writers our best classical source of 250 myths. ovid inspired -dante -chaucer -shakespeare -milton -and many more if vigil is rome’s greatest poet, ovid is the most popular even in his own time, ovoidal graffiti has been found on the walls of pompeii. -keep in mind that these are english translations from ancient texts. writing and content as the way to judge the aesthetic, moment of the transformation. making it new, and making the familiar strange. organization of the metamorphoses -in the first verses of the metamorphoses, ovid claims to write one continuous epic, not an anthology of myths. it is always one story leading into another. -unlike the iliac, however, there is no central hero, thus no aristotelian unity to the work. What binds this poem together? making it more than a random collection of stories? change gets what it wants throughout the text. time passing through life. organizational strategy 1: thematic unity changes as the constant. myths involve change, but some have it takes as an incidental element. ovid is more interested in metamorphoses as a universal principle which explains the nature of the world. troy falls, Rome rises, nothing is permanent. strategy 2: chronological unity from the worlds beginning to the present day. (ln5) ovid begins with the story of creation and the flood, and ends in his own day with Augustus. However, chronology becomes unimportant in the vast middle section of work, as seen by the numerous anachronisms throughout. (anachronism: an error assigning a thing to an earlier or less strictly) -lots of long middle sections that break off from the main line. -weird ways in which ovid breaks his own rules. superficial ways of organizing text strategy 3: transitional links superficial continuity;verbal transitions not plot driven -ovid continually surprises us, as we never know where he is going next. he changes strategies using several techniques. 1. follows same character through different adventures 2. tells a story within a story 3. slides from story of one character to that of a relative or friend 4. note the absence of a character in one tale as an introduction to a new story. not a very satisfying explanation. better way to look at Ovid’s organization theme with variations: offered a pattern for understanding the artistic unity within this sprawling, seemingly random collection of myths understand all the specific instances instead of the general now. within the first 2 books, there are 5 variations of the “virgin pursued by god” theme tales linked by shared interest in divine seductins after the prologue concerning the creation and flood, followin this outline we see a general movement from 1. gods acting like humans 2. to humans suffering at the hands of the gods 3. to humans suffering at the hands of humans 4. to humans becoming gods each section prepares us for future sections -through out the work, ovid creates a complex chain of interconnecting themes helps us to begin to ask questions that help us understand the bigger picture.


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