English Ovid: The Use of Translation

Barry Wood

Ezra Pound described Golding’s Elizabethan translation of Metamorphoses as “the most beautiful book in the language”. An exaggeration, no doubt, but a just acknowledgment of its impact on Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Dryden offered neo-classical versions which more or less set the standard for subsequent centuries until a revival of interest in the twentieth century exemplified by TS Eliot’s use of the story of Tiresias in The Waste Land. In more recent times there have been a fair number of translations, including experiments in Ovidian translation in Michael Hofman and James Lasdun (Eds) After Ovid (1994); Ted Hughes Tales from Ovid (1997) and most recently Stephanie McCarter Metamorphoses by Ovid (2022).

The main focus of the course will be on these recent versions of Ovid which are what Dryden called ‘translation with latitude’; that is, imitations, creative re-inventions, or re-tellings. Some reference will be made to the Latin originals and ‘literal’ versions;  knowledge of Latin will be useful but not essential.

Recommended reading. The introductions to the Hofman/Lasdun, Hughes, and McCarter books offer interesting insights into their purposes and procedures. Selected tales and extracts will be distributed for detailed and comparative discussion.

Day:  Thursdays         Time: 10.30-12.30

8 weeks Thursday 25 January to 14 March, 2024


Cross Street Chapel,
Cross St,
Manchester M2 1NL

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£80 5 16

Please send bookings and enquiries to:

Barry Wood; 12 St Brannock’s Road; Manchester;  M21 0UP.
Email: barrywood42@hotmail.com