Ovid was probably the most popular of all the Roman poets during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and his verse was the inspiration for countless artistic and literary masterpieces of the time. Shakespeare, Bernini, and Rubens were only a few of those who mined his work to extraordinary effect.
Ovid has left mankind a magnificent achievement, and his sparkling poetry is a tour de force of Homeric and Roman myth. As Ovid himself wrote: "As long as Rome is the eternal city, these lines shall echo from the lips of men."
©2006 Audio Connoisseur
Despite having read the Iliad and the Odyssey many times, I found it sometimes difficult to keep track of the 200 or so characters that you encounter in The Metamorphoses. I will likely read this with notes at hand. However, it does not have the power of Homer
"Caviar to the general?"
A few negative (almost scathing) reviews of this recording gave me pause before I clicked to purchase, but I am so glad I ultimately ignored this (very bad) advice. This recording is a true gem. It is a GORGEOUS translation wonderfully read. I listened to the whole thing through twice in a row, and will surely revisit it soon. But first, onto Mr. Griffin's reading of Horace ... can't wait!
"Not that translation mentioned in Amazon reviews"
I think this source of audio book was translated by Horace Gregory, link as follow:
"Excellent Myth Overview"
I'm big mythology fan and this poem fit the bill. I loved it so much that I went out and bought the text so I could read along. Ovid has some stunning tales. Many that I already knew, and some intriguing new ones. There is plenty of blood and gore. The only downside might be books 9-11 which can get a bit raunchy. Otherwise, this is a must for any myth buff.
"Charlton Griffin's Metamorphoses"
I listened to Charlton Griffin read an obscure translation of the Odyssey last year and came to love the poem after years of resistance. He excelled in that reading in conveying the voices of wily warriors and lowly peasants. Here he is reading a very different poet. He makes Ovid sound urbane, "cool," "hip." The poet wallowed in stories of emotional distress and extreme passion and deeds of bloods. Griffin tells these stories with relish. He doesn't create a vivid gallery of distinct characters the way Robert Whitfield did in his great reading of Don Quixote but he slip into Ovid's characters, men and women, in a quiet, smooth manner that doesn't call attention to itself, letting the hearer following along without any inconsistency of tone to jar him or her out of the story. If I got tired at times of the reading, it was because I listened to this long poem in a short time, instead of drawing it out and savoring it more. A fine performance.
This is a solid well done production. The narration was very good. The central theme of this epic poem is "things that change" and this is the thread which interconnects all of the various tales. Its full of very colorful stories and loaded with fanciful creatures and all the gods are there. Loads of beautiful Nymphs hanging about in the glades and shores of quiet pools...
Ovid -- the David Bowie of Latin literature. I chewed on this book of myth-poems the entire time I was tramping around Rome. I was looking for the right words to describe my feelings about it. It isn't that I didn't like it. It is an unequivocal masterpiece. I'm amazed by it. I see Ovid's genes in everything (paintings, sculptures, poems and prose). He is both modern and classic, reverent and wicked, lovely and obscene all at once. It is just hard to wrestle him down. To pin my thoughts about 'the Metamorphoses' into words. Structure really fails me.
That I guess is the sign for me of a book's depth or success with me. It makes me wish I could read it in the original form. I'm not satisfied with Dante in English. I want him in Italian. I'm not satisfied with Ovid in English. I want to experience his poetry, his playfulness, his wit in Latin.
I still prefer the poetry of Homer and Dante, but Ovid isn't embarrassed by the company of the greats; so not Zeus or Neptune, but maybe Apollo.
"Werid pauses and skips mar good reading"
The reading is mostly great but there are weird pauses and accelerations. Some of it sounds computer-generated. It goes great for a minute or two, then there are lines rendered like directory assistance. The rhythm of the poetry is ruined.
I love Ovid. Ovid always gets 5 stars from me. And I'm sure Charlton Griffin is a wonderful person. Unfortunately, he can make the greatest and most interesting works of all of recorded time completely uninteresting and flat. He reads as though he's bored with what he's reading. His readings certainly bore me -- and I've given him several chances so that I have several audiobooks of great works that I'll never listen to. It's a shame that so many of the greatest works in western literature are only available with Charlton Griffin reading them. Now whole new generations are helped to conclude that the great literary works of out culture are boring.
"Best Audio Book Ever"
I listened to the entire book so many times. It was beautifully performed. The narration is gorgeous. I loved it. Visually stunning in the mind's eye.
"Great rendition of questionable content"
With no prior experience with classics, I sat down to hear this recasting of the Greek myths with Ovid's late Roman sensibilities. I found the telling of these mostly painful, and wondered that so many stories involve someone turning into a bird. (put a bird on it? ancients must have been totally mind blown that some animals fly)
I was particularly irked by the "Greek myth avengers" stories where Ovid just name drops a bunch of heros into one scene (fighting a pig) and then goes on and on about what each one did. proves that Hollywood is not the only character recycling wasteland.
Really, all of the fighting described in here is a bit over detailed in ways that made it sound pulpy (his brains came out like cheese through cheese cloth) and I didn't come away understanding the gods attitudes any better at all. they are all extremely petty.
More engaging than the Bible, for sure, but I medium regret having given 17 hours to this work. Maybe I don't have the right attitude to appreciate the classics; I was expecting more story power than what is here. Which is described well but gives no strong sense of the morality behind the stories. Even despite the heavy focus on the surface the stories are Ok.
Imagine my horror to have wasted several years learning ancient Greek to get this content. On that score, 17hrs is a bargain.
Dare I continue this foolish line of inquiry with the Iliad next? probably but I'm pretty stubborn and masochistic with the western intellectual tradition.
I would like to defend the narrator: the reading may be somewhat old-fashioned, but the voice is handsome with the appropriate dose of drama, and the speed is just right. I got hooked on it from the start and know I will listen to this recording again and again.
If ever a narration has strangled the life out of a classic then this is it The quality of reading utterly killed this book and I would strongly advise avoiding this recording or be prepared to be put off classical literature for ever .
"Wonderful Ovid, Over The Top Narration"
The stories are crackers of course, but the narrator is portentous and slightly self-important which I found annoying. If you like a stately type of narration, it might be ok.
Sound like an american trying (poorly) to do an upperclass English accent. Huge multitude of characters make the book rather difficult to absorb in a single reading.
"Metamorphosising vowels in Ovid."
The stories are astonishing and listening to it as I did at night enhanced the pre-rational aspects. The narrator's vowel slides are scary in a different way, but not enough to dampen the effect of the legends. I like his voice and acting but it's best to be sure of an accent before letting it loose on the public.
"Painfully long and ages beyond our times."
If you are a historian of ancient literature, I'm sure that you can enjoy this book. But, if you want a good book, a good story and something to entertain your mind, this is not the way to go. It is too old to be consumed by the minds of our time. It has aged to the point where the wine has gone bad.
Many have said that they dislike the narration. I didn't mind the narrator. In fact, I think he did a good job bringing the flavour of the ancient Greece. But, the narration does not save what is a long and difficult (and un-enjoyable) book.
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