Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses is a detailed critical examination of a masterpiece of Augustan Latin epic poetry. In the manner of Lee Fratantuono's previous volume, Madness Unchained: A Reading of Virgil's Aeneid, this sequel seeks to explicate Ovid's magnum opus by moving scene by scene through the entire work. Through a close study of Ovid's limpid dactylic hexameters, Fratantuono demonstrates the way in which the Metamorphoses stands forth as a bold answer to the Aeneid as another epic consideration of the enigma that was the Augustan principate, with a vision of Roman history (and literature) that both responds to and challenges Virgil. Much of what Virgil left enigmatic and ambiguous is addressed more directly by Ovid, who, unlike his epic predecessor, suffered rather than prospered under the Augustan regime. Madness Transformed considers each tale of wondrous metamorphosis and ironic commentary as it seeks to provide a coherent reading of what might appear a most incoherent poem. Fratantuono carefully examines and critiques secondary scholarship on the Metamorphoses, but the primary method for this journey through Ovid is a close reading of what Ovid the epic poet (and Roman historian) actually says. Fratantuono pays special attention to the sources for Ovid's myths and the Nachleben of Ovid's great achievement, especially in medieval and Renaissance France. These considerations will prove valuable to any reader of classical literature and Roman history from novice to expert. An annotated bibliography provides a guide to further reading on the poem, while the introduction offers a foundation for this study: Ovid as reader of Virgil, in the aftermath of some of the more momentous turning points of Augustus' reign. The madness that was unchained in Virgil, destined to haunt Rome forever, is now revealed by Ovid to have been transformed, as Rome moves definitively from Republic to Empire.
Fratantuono, Lee M., "Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses" (2011). Classics Faculty Books. 10.