Ovid’s Poetics of Illusion

Ovid’s poetry is haunted obsessively by a sense both of the living fullness of the texts and of the emptiness of these ‘insubstantial pageants’. This major study touches on the whole of Ovid’s output, from the Amores to the exile poetry, and is an overarching treatment of illusionism and the textual conjuring of presence in the corpus. Modern critical and theoretical approaches, accompanied by close readings of individual passages, examine the topic from the points of view of poetics and rhetoric, aesthetics, the psychology of desire, philosophy, religion and politics. There are also case studies of the reception of Ovid’s poetics of illusion in Renaissance and modern literature and art. The book will interest students and scholars of Latin and later European literatures. All foreign languages are accompanied by translations.

• A major study of one of the most important ancient poets • Includes substantial discussions of Ovid’s influence on later European literature and art • The author is a leading authority on Latin poetry


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Impossible objects of desire; 3. Death, desire and monuments; 4. The Heroides; 5. Narcissus: the mirror of the text; 6. Pygmalion: art and illusion; 7. Absent presences of language; 8. Conjugal conjurings; 9. The exile poetry; 10. Ovid recalled in the modern novel; Bibliography; Index of modern authors; Index of passages discussed; General index.