Fables of Desire
From the first century CE to the present, Ovid’s myth-encylopedic Metamorphoses has been an astonishingly fertile resource for myth-makers of all stripes (theorists, artists, philosophers). This class will focus on an array of stories that illustrate various permutations of desire: of men for women, women for men, men for men, women for women. We will explore these stories both in their original setting, within the poem and at the height of the Augustan period, and alongside the critiques, theoretical elaborations, and artworks they have provoked. Two broad (and interconnected) sets of questions will guide our discussions. First, how does Ovid figure questions of gender and desire, and how are these figurations muted, transformed, or otherwise put to use by his readers? And second, what is involved in translating a story written in Latin at the start of the first century CE into another language, era, and/or medium?