The Love Poems
The Amores, Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris
The Love Poems - Ovid. A translation into English by A. S. Kline. Published with illustrations (various).
The Amores was Ovid’s first book of poetry, consisting of love elegies, involving the possibly-fictitious Corinna. Mildly subversive it was published in 16BC, in five books, but later edited by Ovid into its surviving three-book form. Ovid makes extensive use of humour and parody to celebrate the elegy as a creative mode as deserving of immortality as the Virgilian epic. His gentle humanism is always evident throughout.
The Art of Love, Ars Amatoria, was written in 2AD as a series of elegies purporting to teach young men and women how to succeed in the game of lovemaking. Provocative and light-hearted in tone, it caused offence, and was possibly a factor in, or at least an excuse for, Ovid’s later banishment by Augustus. The whole work gives a lively view of Augustan Rome, while exhibiting the typical charm and beauty of Ovid’s verse.
The Cures for Love, Remedia Amoris, is a companion piece to the Art of Love, suggesting ways of evading the pain of love, and ending relationships. However subtle use of the elegiac form tends to operate counter to this aim, rendering the work as much a celebration of relationship as a series of poems against it. Ovid, the ‘Master of Love’, is here the Doctor, though one in whose cures one suspects he himself placed little faith.
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