Ovid: Amores. Text, Prolegomena and Commentary in four volumes. Volume IV.i. A Commentary on Book Three, Elegies 1 to 8 (Hardback)
The third and final book of Ovid’s love elegies is a complex farewell to the genre. It begins, programmatically, with Ovid, torn between Tragedy and Elegy, persuading Tragedy to give him a little more time for his love poetry and love affairs. As the book progresses, familiar obstructions to the pursuit of illicit love in urban Rome, beyond the easily circumvented Leges Iuliae, are interspersed with conclusive impediments, such as impotence or even Death.
Other elegies manifest Ovid’s developing interest in alternative poetic modes and subjects. The last poem, 3.15, bids Elegy a final farewell, while asserting the magnitude of Ovid’s achievement as a love-poet. The present volume, a Commentary on Poems 1 to 8, goes halfway on Ovid’s journey towards this final renunciation, up to the point where Ovid is resoundingly defeated in love by his wealthy military rival. As volume IV.i of the four-volume Prolegomena, Text, and Commentary on the Amores begun in 1987, it is jointly authored by J.C. McKeown and R. Joy Littlewood.