The Heroides, a collection of elegiac poems written as letters, fused Ovid’s interests in erotics and myth into a new and unique genre, in which experiments with epistolary form and the psychology of first-person narrative would go on to have a profound influence on European literature. This two-volume edition of 1898 remains an essential resource for the poems; but it has long been difficult to obtain. It contains what is still the only detailed commentary in English on the whole collection, as well as extensive discussion of the text and its transmission. It also offers the full text of the translation of Heroides into Greek prose by the Byzantine scholar Maximus Planudes.
Arthur Palmer was Professor of Latin in the University of Dublin and Fellow of Trinity College. The edition was completed after his death by his colleague, L.C. Purser. Duncan Kennedy is Reader in Latin Literature and the Theory of Criticism at the University of Bristol.
Bristol Phoenix Press (an imprint of The Exeter press) rightly decided to include this title in their Classic Editions Series, whose aim is to reprint important old works on Greek and Latin authors with new introductions. It now consists of two complementary and handy volumes, opposed to the bulky and hence unwieldy single volume of the old editions. A most sensible decision of the new editors has been to preserve the pagination of the original edition, so as not to complicate cross-referencing. K.’s introduction…constitutes a clear, concise and illuminating presentation, which will surely prove very useful for anyone interested in the Heroides. In addition to K.’s new introduction, a most welcome addition to this new reprint of P.’s work is the bibliography complied by K. himself. Despite the passing of more than a century, P.’s edition of the Heroides remains a good starting point for the examination of the work…Both volumes are elegantly produced and reasonably priced. Bristol Phoenix Press and Prof. Duncan F. Kennedy are to be commended for undertaking the task of making this classic piece of scholarship on the Heroides easily accessible.
Gnomon, Vol. 79, issue 5
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