And now for something completely different: Ovid's Amores, translated by Peter Green. (It's in a Penguin Classics collection, Ovid, The Erotic Poems, which includes three other works.) While I'm still re-reading Gabaldon, I've been reading this a bit at a time before bed for the past few weeks, and finished it last night.
It's hard to know what to say about this. I bought the book a while ago because I was taking a class called "Backgrounds in English and American Literature," which covered Greek & Roman poets, Dante, bits of the Bible, and I think a few other things. Portions of the Amores were included in the class text; I really liked their wit and, particularly, the vivid personality that came through, almost reminiscent of some of John Donne's works, to me.
What's wrong with me nowadays, how explain why my mattress
Feels so hard, and the bedclothes will never stay in place?
Why am I kept awake all night by insomnia, thrashing around till
Every weary bone in my body aches?
If Love were my assailant, surely I'd know it—unless he's
Craftily gone under cover, slipped past my guard?
. . . . . . . . . .
So I'm coming clean, Cupid: here I am, your latest victim,
Hands raised in surrender. Do what you like with me.
No need for military action. I want terms, an armistice—
You wouldn't look good defeating an unarmed foe.
. . . . . . . . . .
It's not exactly "For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love," but it seemed akin.
Alas, the Amores turned out not to be what I expected, though this may be my fault for not investigating further (I could've read the lengthy, scholarly introduction before buying, but it was so, so, lengthy. And scholarly.). Certainly, it's not bad, but I didn't enjoy much of it.
The quote above gives a hint of some of the problem. Ovid is exceedingly fond of comparing sex to war, and after a while I got tired of it. That, and litanies of mythological precedents; not surprising from the author of the Metamorphoses, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it any more the umpteenth time we got a list of Zeus's exploits, say. Also, neither mythological nor military approaches to sex (love, as I conceive of it, is hardly to be seen) are really appealing to me.
I don't particularly object to the widely varied tone and attitudes the narrator sometimes takes (which, judging from the annotations, seem to be of some scholarly concern). But a lot of the time I just didn't want to be in his company, no matter how clever he was.
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