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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

This Penguin Classic is performed by award-winning voice actor Martin Jarvis OBE, as well as John Sackville, Maya Saroya and the translator of this edition, David Raeburn. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Denis Feeney. 

Ovid's sensuous and witty poetry brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation - often as a result of love or lust - where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best-known myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy. Erudite but light-hearted, dramatic yet playful, the Metamorphoses has influenced writers and artists throughout the centuries from Shakespeare and Titian to Picasso and Ted Hughes.

©2004 David Raeburn (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Metamorphoses

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A revelation

I knew Ovid was the source for a lot of what we know about classical mythology, but I had no idea how much fun he was to actually read.

This is basically a collection of hundreds of interconnected short stories. Some are lyrical and romantic, some are heroic sagas, and some (actually, a lot) are grindhouse-style torture porn. The gods and goddesses have a lot of cruel and unique ways to punish us mortals.

I enjoyed this translation; it flowed better than others I have looked at. The rotating narrators were also very good.

13 people found this helpful

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don't buy the paperback

great narration of a great translation. the best ovid on audible.

my only recommendation is to get the kindle version of this translation if you want to read along or look at the text. the paperback version is one of the worst formatted books in the penguin classics library. absolute failure. impossible to read. there are so many simple ways where they could format the book so that each line is a single line (without reducing the font size). they published the book years ago and no one ever fixed it. if it's one line of verse, then it should be one line. if there's an exception, it's an exception. but it shouldn't be the rule that most lines of verse are two lines. it's not even poetry anymore. just a formatting mess.

9 people found this helpful

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Next I’ll read the book

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is hours of wonderful storytelling. I was delighted by Maya Saroya’s performance. The men in the cast are wooden by comparison.

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These performances are not really that good

Despite the glowing reviews here, these performances are not so good. A different reader is given for each tale, which could work, but it is jarring with each change, and more so when you learn to your dismay it's the reader you like the least. But none are that good. Often it seemed as if their performance was the first time they had encountered the words they were reading. I think this work is a particular challenge for readers because it deals with classic epic subjects, but does not require the epic register that, say, The Iliad or Paradise Lost warrant. I feel the Metamorphoses is often closer to comedy or romance than to epic, and when read entirely in the epic register much is lost. Worse, it gets tiresome. Charlton Griffin's Metamorphoses isn't bad, but it suffers from a monotonous and overbearing high, thundering mode. These readers don't all do that, but when they don't it seems to be because they haven't figured out which mode or voice or register to employ. I haven't found a suitable performance of this great work on audible yet, which is a disappointment, but I can see the challenge is great. Maybe this is a book to be read, not listened to.

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Storytelling at its Best

Great storytelling and narration. A few minor errors in the reading and typos but easily overlooked.

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  • L. J. W. Cych
  • 06-06-20

Enjoyable but marred by mistakes in the narration.

I've enjoyed listening (and reading along to) this book. However I bought the audible version to hear how the names of the characters and gods are properly pronounced but, in some cases, even commonplace names are pronounced wrong. One reader consistently pronounced Plumage ( /ˈpluːmɪdʒ/) as Plummage! The lack of consistency and adherence to attention to detail by some of the readers suggests sloppy editing and proof reading. The studio audio engineers need a higher proficiency when recording, rerecording and editing this text. It lowers the quality of the Penguin classics brand.

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  • Soutar
  • 02-07-22

a few annoying glitches.

chapter titles don't match the book, this is unhelpful when using the book at part of academic study.
It seems to miss out on the very first few words of each chapter. Having said that, this is very helpful with study when using this exact translation as a set book.

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  • John Mark
  • 12-27-20

These are superb stories

This is the first time I've read / listened to Ovid and I'm now a massive fan, his storytelling is head and shoulders above most of what I've read. Superb.
I like to listen to actors reading because they are so much better than I am and draw out the emotions and nuances of the writer so well. Two of the readers were excellent the other, the female voice was unable to pronounce the English words on numerous occasions and it spoiled the overall excellent presentation as her mispronounced reading became a distraction otherwise thoroughly enjoyed it all. Will seek out a different reading in future though. Highly recommended writer though.