This landmark translation of Ovid was acclaimed by Ezra Pound as 'the most beautiful book in the language (my opinion and I suspect it was Shakespeare's)'. The first English translation of one of the supreme masterpieces of Latin literature, Golding's Metamorphoses (1567) decisively influenced Shakespeare, Spenser and the character of English Renaissance writing. Ovid's deliciously witty and poignant epic starts with the creation of the world and brings together a series of ingeniously linked myths and legends in which men and women are transformed, often by love - into flowers, trees, stones and stars. This robustly vernacular version adds a Christian moral framework, clarifies obscurities and gives an English flavour to the rustic settings, thus making readily available to later writers a treasure trove of comic, eerie and erotic tales. Their echoes haunt Shakespeare's imagination from A Midsummer Night's Dream to The Tempest.
Arthur Golding (1536-1606) may clearly illustrate the sixteenth-century obsession with 'Englishing' classical texts and themes, yet his talent far transcends his age.
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