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30 review for The Art of Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Dear Ovid, You made me look like a sex pest. I was visiting a city for the day with a friend of mine; it was cold outside and we’d taken refuge in this really quaint bookstore. It wasn’t one of the chain ones, but a really quirky independent bookstore that had shelves packed with tomes and all sorts of literary marvels. I spent a large amount of money in there Ovid. I bought things at random without really paying attention to what they were: I just wanted them all, you know how it is. I saw thi Dear Ovid, You made me look like a sex pest. I was visiting a city for the day with a friend of mine; it was cold outside and we’d taken refuge in this really quaint bookstore. It wasn’t one of the chain ones, but a really quirky independent bookstore that had shelves packed with tomes and all sorts of literary marvels. I spent a large amount of money in there Ovid. I bought things at random without really paying attention to what they were: I just wanted them all, you know how it is. I saw this nice big slip cased edition of your poetry so, naturally, I thought I’d have that. When I took it to the cash register the woman behind the till was smirking at me. I had no idea why at the time. I thought she was laughing at the amount of books I bought not the book I bought. This is where it gets really awkward Ovid. During the train journey back home my friend asked me what books I bought. So I innocently showed her. I got all my books out of my bag and we sat there looking at them. She opened my new explicitly illustrated copy of The Art of Love that showcased instructional images and poetry about the pleasures of oral sex. Our friendship has never been quite the same since. You could have warned me Ovid. I honestly thought we were pals. I can’t put pictures in this letter, but you know the type they are: they are essentially pornography albeit that of a colourful and artistic variety. Just the sort of thing you like. They’re not the type you show your friends on a public train (if at all). So thanks Ovid for making me look like a weird sex pest that day with my big book of poetry porn. Speaking of which, I found it quite bland. I’m sure it would be fun for those who have little imagination. All the best from your extremely embarrassed former friend, Sean

  2. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    Short, sparkling, witty and sexy, this is a tongue-in-cheek comedy of the sexes dressed up as a how-to guide. It's best enjoyed on a hot afternoon, lounging somewhere comfortable with a fizzy cocktail in your other hand. Ovid is great company – a man of the world, funny and quotable and just the right side of disreputable. He takes the would-be lover through the whole process of finding, winning, and keeping a partner, covering such crucial areas as the perfect level of drunkenness, the trustwor Short, sparkling, witty and sexy, this is a tongue-in-cheek comedy of the sexes dressed up as a how-to guide. It's best enjoyed on a hot afternoon, lounging somewhere comfortable with a fizzy cocktail in your other hand. Ovid is great company – a man of the world, funny and quotable and just the right side of disreputable. He takes the would-be lover through the whole process of finding, winning, and keeping a partner, covering such crucial areas as the perfect level of drunkenness, the trustworthiness of servants, and the need to be cautious if you hook up with someone on a boozy night out: On these occasions don't trust the lamps – they can lie: Darkness and drink blur the judging eye. This is James Michie's 1993 translation, whose jaunty rhyming couplets make every couple of lines seem like something you want to put on a business card. The last book is aimed at female readers trying to pin down their man – he's nothing if not even-handed in his approach. It's strange to reflect that for the best part of two millennia, Western Europe essentially pretended female sexuality didn't exist, and yet if you go back a bit further you can find Ovid cheerfully stressing the crucial importance that both partners manage to get themselves off satisfactorily. Sentiat ex imis venerem resoluta medullis Femina, et ex aequo res iuvet illa duos. which Mozley in 1929 rendered cautiously as Let the woman feel love's act, unstrung to the very depths of her frame, and let that act delight both alike. ...but which in Michie's translation is more robust: A fucked woman should melt to her core, and the pleasure Be felt by both in equal measure. It sums up Ovid's basic theme here: pleasure for all. Not least for the reader, because this is great fun.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lynne King

    I'm a great collector of Folio Society books. The choices in books are excellent and the quality of the books themselves is unsurpassed. They are normally bound in full cloth and I'm always so impressed with the vibrant colours of the illustrations as can be seen in this particular book. I came across this book purely by chance yesterday as I was dusting and noted that I purchased it in 1994. I vividly recall how impressed I was at the time both with the poetry and the illustrations. Looking at it I'm a great collector of Folio Society books. The choices in books are excellent and the quality of the books themselves is unsurpassed. They are normally bound in full cloth and I'm always so impressed with the vibrant colours of the illustrations as can be seen in this particular book. I came across this book purely by chance yesterday as I was dusting and noted that I purchased it in 1994. I vividly recall how impressed I was at the time both with the poetry and the illustrations. Looking at it now, I wonder if I'm turning into a prude because although some of these illustrations are erotic and exquisite, others are well rather pornographic. I keep on returning to them in fact. The poetry itself is wonderful but nevertheless rather sexually explicit in parts. Still, it's a super book to have and the introduction in itself gives a good account of Ovid's life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Praj

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Do I need to say anything more?? Now, only if I could figure out a way to play the James Brown track. Do I need to say anything more?? Now, only if I could figure out a way to play the James Brown track.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Qhuay

    I was drawn in by the title and I feel cheated, so let me give you some title suggestions that will give you a truer idea of what this book is about: 1 - The Cheater's Guide To Cheat Some More 2 - A Thousand Ways To Deceive 3 - How To Make Fools Out Of Women 4 - The Liar's Step By Step Manual 5 - Cheating For Dummies 6 - Bros Code 7 - Cheating, said The Love Guru 8 - Seduction Tips For Men (And Slutty Women Too) And the list could go on and on. I know one ne I was drawn in by the title and I feel cheated, so let me give you some title suggestions that will give you a truer idea of what this book is about: 1 - The Cheater's Guide To Cheat Some More 2 - A Thousand Ways To Deceive 3 - How To Make Fools Out Of Women 4 - The Liar's Step By Step Manual 5 - Cheating For Dummies 6 - Bros Code 7 - Cheating, said The Love Guru 8 - Seduction Tips For Men (And Slutty Women Too) And the list could go on and on. I know one needs to have in consideration the time period in which the book was written when reading it, but The Art Of Love is just one gigantic mess. Ovid thinks he's some great expert of love, when in truth, he's only talking about lust and teaching men how to be big fat liars, cheaters and huge bastards altogether. I don't know how women could possibly fall for all that fake crap, but the Lord knows it happens.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Akemi G.

    If you don't know the art of love, read on: after this poem, you should be a don. Ovid is so cool. I have the copy translated by Tom Payne (published 2011). You can also read the version translated by Julian Lewis May (1930) here. May translation sounds oldish but still is easy to understand; Payne translation (all quotes in this review come from Payne translation) consists of pairs of lines that rhyme, so it has musical quality. This is love before Christianity severed love and sex, a sad cultur If you don't know the art of love, read on: after this poem, you should be a don. Ovid is so cool. I have the copy translated by Tom Payne (published 2011). You can also read the version translated by Julian Lewis May (1930) here. May translation sounds oldish but still is easy to understand; Payne translation (all quotes in this review come from Payne translation) consists of pairs of lines that rhyme, so it has musical quality. This is love before Christianity severed love and sex, a sad cultural tradition that we still carry on today whether you are a Christian or not. Because of the dichotomy, a relationship is either serious or only about sex, a woman is either a madonna or whore, in our culture. Ovid has no such nonsense. He openly discusses how to win women (Book 1) and how to keep her (Book 2). His instructions are so honest and insightful of human nature to the point of hilarity. And he doesn't boast on his pick-up technique--Ovid actually scorns men who bed women for their pleasure alone. Ovid likes sharing: I hate sex when it brings uneven joys: that's why I don't like doing it with boys, or girls who give out, thinking it a bind; they're dry, and spinning wool is on their mind: (l. 683-686) (You are not surprised about homosexuality in ancient Rome, are you?) Ovid understands extramarital relationships as well. Unfortunately, Emperor Augustus didn't like it. Patriarchy is another factor that restricts our sexuality; the Emperor forced a law to punish women who commit adultery, and the free-spirited Ovid was exiled. (I read somewhere that this law became meaningless soon, however. Roman ladies who faced this legal issue declared themselves to be prostitutes, a class that is exempt of the law, to evade punishment. They didn't really practice the service--just claiming the status was sufficient for evasion.) Payne translation contains: * The Art of Love (Book 1-3) * The Cure for Love * Treatments for the Feminine Face A few examples of the things you learn: * How to court women on a budget * How to socialize with your mistress's boyfriend (Payne translation)/husband (May translation) * How to best deal with your girlfriend/wife's infidelity * and more (Book 3 is for women!)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Philippe Malzieu

    The art of the translation is so difficult. When I was at the high-school I studied Latin. One day we had an extract of this book to translate. I remember my incredulity to know if I had well understood : "Remove the dust of her chest even if there does not have dust". I'm still remember. That changed us from Cicéro.For teenagers, it was exciting. It was like erotic to discover the signification. So I read the book but it was not the same pleasure to discover the text by translation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lia N.

    I like this better than pornography.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mel Bossa

    As much as I loved and plan to reread Les Metamorphoses, I can't say the same about this one. Even if I make abstraction of the disturbing and unfair sexism in Ovid's stupid lessons on love, and give him a "written 2000 years ago" pass, the book is still cheap. I don't think he put too much effort into it at all. It was as though he drank a few glasses of wine, played with himself a little and then grabbed a plume and ink or whatever and made himself laugh with these lessons. Uh, Ovid, LOVE isn't a As much as I loved and plan to reread Les Metamorphoses, I can't say the same about this one. Even if I make abstraction of the disturbing and unfair sexism in Ovid's stupid lessons on love, and give him a "written 2000 years ago" pass, the book is still cheap. I don't think he put too much effort into it at all. It was as though he drank a few glasses of wine, played with himself a little and then grabbed a plume and ink or whatever and made himself laugh with these lessons. Uh, Ovid, LOVE isn't about getting to third base, lifting someone's skirt at the circus, stalking, preying, lying, scheming, manipulating, baiting or worse, asking your lover to turn on his or her stomach because you can't stand their face. Ah man. I promised myself I wouldn't go on a rant. Okay, so... calmy I say, the book has its a value as a glimpse of Roman Culture in the Golden Age and had some interesting bits on Greek mythology, but then again he nearly copy pasted those out of his Metamorphoses... Again, too easy breezy. That brings me to his Cover Girl act. Recipes for face masks and make up? In French we say, "De quoi j'me mêle?" Basically mind your own business. And I don't think Ovid's business was love. It was seducing and sex. Which can be love on some level but I was looking for a book on The Great Love. Those feelings and acts that aim at the chiefest truth and that bring us bliss. In the end, Ovid keeps talking about how good of a lover he is... Yeah I've known a few of those. All talk. :-)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this for class recently, and I have to say I'm somewhat impressed and somewhat confused. What I can't work out is the relationship between (what I found to be) the overtly satirical tone and the carefully crafted series of analogies imparting what seems like literal advice. Either Ovid was poking fun at what he considered an absurd game men and women play to socially justify their sex lives, or he was concerned about something darker and intended to approach it with a bit of levity. I can I read this for class recently, and I have to say I'm somewhat impressed and somewhat confused. What I can't work out is the relationship between (what I found to be) the overtly satirical tone and the carefully crafted series of analogies imparting what seems like literal advice. Either Ovid was poking fun at what he considered an absurd game men and women play to socially justify their sex lives, or he was concerned about something darker and intended to approach it with a bit of levity. I can appreciate how easy it might be to consider much of this as disgustingly misogynistic, but reading it mindful of the precedents of Greek literature, and the powerful hindsight afforded by medieval works of similar substance, I think The Art of Love represents a clear step forward on a social continuum. Women in Ovid's mind are no longer merely spoils of war taken from hated enemies (though I suspect they certainly haven't ceased to be this either), but they become formidable enemies themselves in the warfare of love and courtship. I grant it's not the most salient aspect of the work, but I believe this is a case where some historical examination makes room for a more charitable reading than first glance would suggest. Ultimately I'm unable to find any clear difference among the various guides to courtship I've encountered, whether Ovid or Cappellanus or Cosmopolitan magazine. They're all partial and affected and sexist in their own ways. One might cynically conclude that Ovid, like so many others, is merely describing a game whose rules are blithely arbitrary, and that in our own times and own ways we all just play along.

  11. 5 out of 5

    max

    This slender volume is perhaps the wittiest, most sophisticated, outrageously amusing instructional handbook of all time. It is a parody of a didactic treatise, a three book exposition on how to play the game of love and come out a winner. Ovid is a literary provocateur, a skillful subversive whose ironic gamesmanship never lets up. Similes comparing women at Roman theaters to swarming ants or bees turn Vergil's Aeneid (along with the Roman values it celebrates) upside down, and the tale of Romu This slender volume is perhaps the wittiest, most sophisticated, outrageously amusing instructional handbook of all time. It is a parody of a didactic treatise, a three book exposition on how to play the game of love and come out a winner. Ovid is a literary provocateur, a skillful subversive whose ironic gamesmanship never lets up. Similes comparing women at Roman theaters to swarming ants or bees turn Vergil's Aeneid (along with the Roman values it celebrates) upside down, and the tale of Romulus' abduction of the Sabine women is an Ovidian set piece that invites readers to consider Livy's famous tale on the same subject in a very different light. This particular edition is bilingual, which means the Latin is on the left side and the English translation is on the right. A "must read" and certainly on the top of my list of favorite works of Latin poetry. This was allegedly the work that prompted Augustus to banish Ovid: read it and find out why. See my review of Love and Transformation: An Ovid Reader

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

    5 stars to "The Art of Love," "The Cure for Love," and "Treatments for a Feminine Face." This was fantastic, my only regret was that I didn't read it in the summer. If you've read Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," the feeling is the same. It's hard to explain. Anyway, this was quite possibly the funniest, AND most useful book of love advice I've ever read. Nearly everything he wrote (with some obvious, "hair-pulling" and "garment ripping" exceptions) can be applied to the 21st century Casanova. 5 stars to "The Art of Love," "The Cure for Love," and "Treatments for a Feminine Face." This was fantastic, my only regret was that I didn't read it in the summer. If you've read Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," the feeling is the same. It's hard to explain. Anyway, this was quite possibly the funniest, AND most useful book of love advice I've ever read. Nearly everything he wrote (with some obvious, "hair-pulling" and "garment ripping" exceptions) can be applied to the 21st century Casanova. This translation was great as well, it made for an easy read, but didn't take away from the actual poem.

  13. 4 out of 5

    John Mccullough

    Ovid’s classic work offering advice to men and women on how to woo, win and keep a lover has been translated to so many languages, including English numerous times. Ovid divides his treatise into 3 books. Book I instructs the boy or man on how to woo and win a woman of his choice – or choices. Book II instructs the boy or man on how to keep her - or them. In Book III Ovid does the same for the girls/women. Ovid supplies bits of advice, accompanied by examples from Greek or Roman myth and history, Ovid’s classic work offering advice to men and women on how to woo, win and keep a lover has been translated to so many languages, including English numerous times. Ovid divides his treatise into 3 books. Book I instructs the boy or man on how to woo and win a woman of his choice – or choices. Book II instructs the boy or man on how to keep her - or them. In Book III Ovid does the same for the girls/women. Ovid supplies bits of advice, accompanied by examples from Greek or Roman myth and history, most of which were unknown to me but which I found in the back of the book. Much of the advice is wise and still timely, but occasionally his words, if implemented in real life, would end today in anything from a frown to a slap to a right hook to a lawsuit. The advice is best carefully considered before believed as god-given. Throughout, Ovid maintains a sense of humor. Despite its age – about 1800 years old – I found the books easy to read and enjoyable. Perhaps except the need to constantly run to the back of the book for an explanation of gods, persons and places. But even that was illuminating – I even found the origin of “Rhesus,” the name of an Asian macaque monkey for biologists and anthropologists, but in ancient times, the king of Thrace who came to the rescue of the Trojans, but failed in his efforts. I learn something every day! However, I make no comment on my following Ovid’s more specific instructions! Translations can be more or less forthright on what Ovid wrote or intimated. B. P. Moore’s 1935 British translation adheres to the poetic form used by Ovid but is relatively restrained about describing the potential acts in which – or how - lovers may engage. In contrast, James Michie’s more recent translation doesn’t beat around the bush, but just names the acts and techniques, apparently as Ovid intended. This is a short work – less than 200 pages – and reads rapidly and joyously. If you enjoy love and/or sex, this is a very classy way to go!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy

    Many contemporary chess Grandmasters consider almost useless to study games from the old masters due to computer engines being far stronger than any chess player that has ever played the game. Magnus Carlsen disagrees, and he is the best chess player in the world. What I mean with this is that I highly recommend this book to contemporary sociopaths, pick-up artists, etc., despite their knowledge of NPL, every guru of seduction from the last two decades and both indirect and physical game. Picking Many contemporary chess Grandmasters consider almost useless to study games from the old masters due to computer engines being far stronger than any chess player that has ever played the game. Magnus Carlsen disagrees, and he is the best chess player in the world. What I mean with this is that I highly recommend this book to contemporary sociopaths, pick-up artists, etc., despite their knowledge of NPL, every guru of seduction from the last two decades and both indirect and physical game. Picking up women in the internet era (doesn't matter if you gamed her on da street, yo, 24/7 connection to the internet and smartphones are always implied nowadays so then it comes text game and whether psychologically fruitful, enjoyable to some extent in its own manipulative terms... it gets tiring and dull really easily and really soon) is not as adventurous/interesting/enjoyable as in the times of Ovid, for sure. Sex, nowadays, pales in comparison too: after having consumed a fair amount of online hardcore porn, feels like watching a terror movie from Bela Lugosi —still artistic, but instead of terrifying for us it is just funny, and sex being dirty, being good, compared to our favourite xvids, well... what’s a brotha supposed to say, what’s a brotha 2 do… On the bright side, being a toyboy in our times (8-star hotels, jacuzzi, flights, infinite pools, technology, designer clothes, Michelin restaurants, etc.) seems way cooler, so always worthy to keep on reading books like this one to improve one's game (even if only theoretically) if interested in achieving or maintaining that toyboy status. The first two parts of the book are for men; the third and final chapter, mindgame advice for women (I was gladly surprised by this myself 0:‑) P.S. This book is, at first glance, machist; for the lucid and/or experienced, it is more feminist than anything else, being 1/3 of the book mindgame advice for women themselves and the whole thing about men acting like clowns in the theater of love, like slaves (servus) of the beloved woman (his owner or domine). When you “play” a girl (who in the first place wants you to if she’s attracted to you or potentially interested in you causing her emotions), you are objectifying yourself as the product she wants you to be (at the end of the first part Ovid cannot help but say that the best strategy, the best advice, it is to act the way the particular woman you are interested wants you to), and find out, if you fall in love and it doesn’t turn out in a happy ending for you, that you and not her were the one fooled since the start. For the many, “the game” looks like men treating women like objects (hotties), but the shy/geeky/romantic/whatever guys who learnt how to play it know that it has more to do with them selling themselves in a faux way to be lately appreciated for what they truly are (or the relationship wouldn’t ultimately work, lacking any of the two interest for the real other) and/or being their best self (nobody is their “best” self in a natural manner) 24/7 (remember Taxi Driver? Well, in real life men don’t to have to make such a stupid/huge/obvious mistake to ruin an interaction with a woman or a potential relationship with her) than anything else. Those who think “the game” is a men’s thing to trick women instead of women wanting men to act like they want them to act (emotionally empathetic, no matter if in a narcissistic way —everything but a brutally rationalist calculator “I like you and you could like me because I have this and that, so... 1+1... See you tomorrow at 7?”)… don’t know much about men, love nor women.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    Artful and audacious at all times, the Roman poet Ovid claims that he can help any young man or woman find and keep the beloved person he or she longs for; and in the extended poem that the Romans call Ars Amatoria, and that residents of the contemporary Anglosphere refer to as The Art of Love, Ovid sets forth his strategies and tactics for amatory success. In a manner that might remind some readers of the “self-help” books of the present day, Ovid, writing all the way back around the year 2 A.D. Artful and audacious at all times, the Roman poet Ovid claims that he can help any young man or woman find and keep the beloved person he or she longs for; and in the extended poem that the Romans call Ars Amatoria, and that residents of the contemporary Anglosphere refer to as The Art of Love, Ovid sets forth his strategies and tactics for amatory success. In a manner that might remind some readers of the “self-help” books of the present day, Ovid, writing all the way back around the year 2 A.D., seeks to guide the reader through all of the steps of meeting, wooing, winning, and keeping that special someone. When it comes to starting a conversation, and keeping it going, Ovid’s advice is as follows: Now is the time for conversation. Be off, rustic modesty! Fortune and Venus favour daring. Do not count on me to teach you the laws of eloquence. Only make a beginning, and the eloquence will follow without your looking for it. You must play the role of a lover. Let what you say express the ache which burns within you, and neglect no means of persuading your mistress. (p. 33) Some of Ovid’s advice is fairly timeless; at other times, one must apply a bit of historical context. Characteristic in that regard is this passage, in which Ovid tells a young man how to let his beloved know that she is always uppermost in his thoughts: Take care to hold her sunshade over her, and make a way for her if she finds herself caught up in the crowd. Hasten to place a footstool to help her get into bed. Take off or put on her sandals on her delicate feet. Often, too, though you may be shivering yourself, warm the ice-cold hands of your mistress in your breast. Do not hesitate, though you may feel a little ashamed, to use your hand, the hand of a free man, to hold her mirror. (p. 53) Note that Ovid is trying to anticipate and refute the likely protest of a proud Roman freeman – something to the effect that holding a mirror for a lady is “slave work.” But Ovid wants his reader to move beyond such thinking. After all, what is more democratizing, more liberating, than the universality of love – of falling in love, of loving and being loved? By the way, Ovid has some other sage advice for a young man wishing to preserve his relationship with the woman he loves: (1) agree with her regarding what she praises or criticizes; and (2) if you’re playing dice or chess, be sure to let her win. Ovid also has some (ahem!) bedroom advice for young men, regarding ways to make sure that the connubial aspect of the relationship is most perfectly happy for both partners. It is stated more poetically and elegantly than what one might find in the pages of Playboy or Men’s Health, but is unmistakable in its import. It is near the end of Book II, if you want to look it up for yourself. I will say no more. Ovid sums up his advice to young men by writing that “May every lover who has triumphed over a fierce Amazon with the sword he has received from me inscribe on his trophies: Ovid was my master” (p. 79). But Ovid is interested in offering advice to young women as well as young men, pointing out that “here, also, is the fair sex demanding lessons from me. So, it is for you, young Beauties, that I reserve what follows” (p. 79). Ovid is just as specific in his advice to young women as he is when advising young men, writing to young women that My dears, you will do well to mingle with crowds; often go out with no destination in view. The she-wolf watches many ewes in order to seize one of them; the eagle pursues more than one bird through the air. Thus a Beauty ought to be seen by the people; among them perhaps there will be one whom her charms will captivate. Everywhere let her show herself eager to please, and let her pay great attention to all that can enhance her attractions. Everywhere chance offers luck. Let the hook be always held out; the fish will come to take it when you least expect it. (p. 102) “Young maidens,” Ovid writes, “be kinder to those who appear to be in love with you; this love, at first put on, will become sincere” (p. 33). But, Ovid warns the ladies, “avoid those men who show off their dress and their beauty, and who are afraid to disarrange their hair. What they will say to you they will already have repeated a thousand times to others. Theirs is an errant love which will settle nowhere….Perhaps this seems unbelievable to you, but you must believe it. Troy would still be standing where she was if she had listened to the advice of old Priam” (pp. 102-03). His advice seems as sound and sensible in 2020 A.D. as it was in 2 A.D. I wish I could tell you that Ovid was able to pass the remainder of his days in Rome, writing of love and hopefully being in love; but alas, such was not to be. Six years after publishing The Art of Love, in 8 A.D. – the same year in which Ovid published his magnum opus, the cycle of Greek and Roman mythological stories known as The Metamorphoses -- he was exiled from Rome by personal order of the emperor Augustus Caesar, and sent to the city of Tomis, on the shores of the Black Sea in Dacia. Today, Tomis is the seaside city of Constanța in Romania, where a statue of Ovid shows the pride that the Romanian people have in knowing that the great poet was once a fellow-countryman of theirs. Why did the Emperor treat Ovid as he did? There is speculation that Augustus may have suspected Ovid of involvement in a coup attempt against the Emperor. Beyond such possibilities, however, there is the certainty that Ovid’s world-view and that of Augustus Caesar were fundamentally different. Ovid was worldly, pleasure-loving, tolerant of human frailty; Augustus was stern, cold, duty-bound. Ovid focused on the individual; Augustus, on the state. Ovid wanted people to seek out love as a key to happiness; Augustus wanted strict, stable couples to dutifully bring forth and raise future generations of valiant Roman soldiers and stern Roman matrons who could help further the imperial project of Roman hegemony. In a way, perhaps it’s a surprise that Augustus didn’t exile Ovid sooner than he did. Whatever the reasons for his exile – and Ovid himself said the reason was carmen et error, “a poem and a mistake” – Ovid passed the last decade of his life in unhappy exile on what he would have regarded as a “barbarian” frontier, far from the Rome that he loved, with its high culture, its elegant society, its gossip, its love affairs. Truly, Augustus knew how to choose a punishment that would be most painful to its recipient. But Augustus’ empire, so precious to him, crumbled into dust in 476 A.D. Meanwhile, Ovid’s The Art of Love still delights with its naughty, flirtatious playfulness. And somewhere in the world, as I write these words, some young person who is desperately in love is even now taking up a copy of The Art of Love, saying to him- or herself, “I’ve heard that this person Ovid has some good ideas that can help me…”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lyanna Choi

    I think I understand why Ovid got exiled. On a separate note, I'll keep Book 3 in mind when pursuing potential partners — especially his advice for short girls. Who know Ovid was a beauty guru too?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Ovidius was a wicked poet. One can picture him giving you a wink after reading the title: the Art of Love, Ars amatoria, el Arte de Amar. It is quite a statement to write a book with such a title. Ovidius knows what that implies. Sounds ambitious, but he doesn't take himself too serious. Ovidius fills his Art of Love with comedy and lots of irony. This is not "love" as the Platonic ideal, this is love at its sexiest, a bit nasty, a bit shallow. Love as war. Ovidius compares man and women to sold Ovidius was a wicked poet. One can picture him giving you a wink after reading the title: the Art of Love, Ars amatoria, el Arte de Amar. It is quite a statement to write a book with such a title. Ovidius knows what that implies. Sounds ambitious, but he doesn't take himself too serious. Ovidius fills his Art of Love with comedy and lots of irony. This is not "love" as the Platonic ideal, this is love at its sexiest, a bit nasty, a bit shallow. Love as war. Ovidius compares man and women to soldiers fighting on different sides. They have to outsmart each other in order to seduce and not be seduced. The list of dos and don'ts Ovidius comes up with range from clever to hilarious. He is irreverent and he knows it. The way in which he proclaims himself great teacher of love, as some sort of master, always cracks a smile on me. Not enough people mention how funny this book is. Ovidius is simply toying with the idea of love as pleasure, half mockingly, half seriously. That makes the Art of Love the most modern Latin poem I've read yet.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    There is no need for anyone to write about the art of seduction, or to travel the world as a 'pick up artist' - Ovid revealed all about two thousand years ago, at times with explicit detail. Some sound advice using Roman mythology to illustrate his points, and while some advice seems well and truly inappropriate, in other parts he seems very progressive, and he advocates a good sex life for both men and women.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dorotea

    Once again I am amazed by Ovid skill to transform such matter into poetry, the original Latin text (mellifluous and fluid) is superior to the translation in many ways, but ultimately I wasn’t particularly into reading about cheating habits in the Roman epoch.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Krishna

    Have only three words to say about this book - Sensual, Sensuous and Sensible! ❤️

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Ovid’s Guide to Getting Laid 2 February 2020 There are a few interesting things about this book, and the main one is that if you are reading it to actually get some guidence then you have probably taken the wrong turn somewhere. I can say that because, well, I’ve taken that wrong turn as well – quite a few times. Look, it isn’t that I’m an incel or anything, it’s just that either I don’t realise that a person likes me, I like somebody that isn’t interested in me in that way, or I’m not particular Ovid’s Guide to Getting Laid 2 February 2020 There are a few interesting things about this book, and the main one is that if you are reading it to actually get some guidence then you have probably taken the wrong turn somewhere. I can say that because, well, I’ve taken that wrong turn as well – quite a few times. Look, it isn’t that I’m an incel or anything, it’s just that either I don’t realise that a person likes me, I like somebody that isn’t interested in me in that way, or I’m not particularly interested in somebody who is interested in me. The thing is that there is little difference with this book and the hundreds of people who post on the internet telling you how to pick up a potential partner, usually of the one night stand variety. Mind you, these people tend to ask for money as well, which an awful lot of gullible people are willing to give them in the hope that they can overcome their insecurities. It’s not going to help you get laid. Anyway, let’s move on from the obvious and talk about this work because, well, there is something that is slightly different from all of that rubbish that you will no doubt find on the internet (including Youtube – there was one guy claiming that ending up in the friend zone isn’t as bad as some people claim, though I happen to be one of those people, and personally would rather move on to greener pastures) and that is that Ovid is a master poet. Okay, I’m not entirely sure whether much of what he was writing was tongue in cheek, though a part of me actually got the impression that it was, especially since he claimed that his original intention was to write about something completely different, and ended up writing a book about how to get laid – though not in those exact words. Actually, to be more precise, how to get somebody else’s wife into bed with you, which certainly caused a bit of an uproar since the emperor at the time (Augustus) was trying to stamp out wanton adultry. Mind you, the women that Ovid was talking about tended to be middle and upper class Romans, namely because it doesn’t take any skill whatsoever to walk into a brothel, pay money, and then go ahead and do the deed. On the other hand, convincing some married woman that a fling with yourself would be worth the risk is definitely something else, and in a way half of the fun is the risk that one happens to be taking. Mind you, while some people claim that there is little difference between what Ovid was saying back then and the situation in which we live now, the reality is that the world of Ancient Rome was much, much different to our world. For instance, it was considered bad form to be the passive participant in homosexual sex (though it was fine to be the active participant). The second thing is that despite the enlightened values of the Romans, women were still technically second class citizens (though they certainly had a lot more power and influence than did the women from Ancient Greece). Yeah, this book is certainly quite one sided, and even though there is a section dedicated to women, it is basically just really written from a man’s point of view, and simply tells the woman how they should behave to attract a man. Oh, and there is also this attitude of ‘treat them mean to keep them keen’ which is certainly not something that is welcomed all that much anymore, especially since domestic violence is certainly frowned upon. Yet, a part of me feels that a confident person is certainly going to have a lot more success than somebody who is perpetually moaning and complaining, and going out of their way to elicit sympathy sex from any possible angle. Though, I still come back to the fact that this is actually poetry, which certainly makes it stand out quite a lot from a lot of rubbish that you tend to find floating around these days. It is certainly not the subject that I myself would go out of my way to read, though if you are wondering why I actually read this particular book, and my honest answer is that it was written by Ovid – come on, the guy is a master of the written word, and the fact that this was compiled in poetic form truly sets it apart from everything else.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lecy

    Essentially, "how to woo women," this work is evergreen. The first two books are written for men, looking for women. The third book is for women, seeking to be found by a man. Inside the covers, you'll find advice like how to "love" a woman, how to comfort her when she is emotional, how to groom yourself so that you can keep a woman, and one of my favorites, "make her miss you, but not too much." For women, how to understand a man's intent based on his letters, how to laugh at his jokes, and gua Essentially, "how to woo women," this work is evergreen. The first two books are written for men, looking for women. The third book is for women, seeking to be found by a man. Inside the covers, you'll find advice like how to "love" a woman, how to comfort her when she is emotional, how to groom yourself so that you can keep a woman, and one of my favorites, "make her miss you, but not too much." For women, how to understand a man's intent based on his letters, how to laugh at his jokes, and guarding your heart against false lovers. Although a lot of it would be considered sexist in the present tense, much of this book can be adapted to modern love. Regardless, it's an entertaining read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    Ars amatoria is a colorful and witty three-part book about how to seduce 'em and how to keep 'em for both men and women, written more than 2000 years ago. Here are some of his instructions: :-) Cultivate your thoughts with noble arts and learn two languages.Ulysses wasn't handsome but he was eloquent...look presentable,trim hairs from nostrils...don't forget her birthday! :-) Ovid was later banished from Rome but his work remaines timeless.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    This is a fine translation in modern English. It's not colloquial, but it's readable. The one problem I have with it is that it uses a rhyming scheme. The "sense" of the Latin is there, and all the Greco-Roman myth is there, but the English takes a lot of liberties with the Latin. The choices the translator makes are generally good, but don't expect a word-by-word translation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eadweard

    A very funny and light read. You can see why he was exiled by the conservative Augustus. Always enjoyable to read about the city life, parties, etc. His tips for males and females were great. If only I could read the work in the original.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hildur

    Sexist as hell, even encouraging rape.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    A hilarious read that manages to entertain as well as enlighten. I will definitely return to it in the future, even if it's just to mine quotes. Highly Recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carey Combe

    No wonder he was banished!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The art of love encompasses three books by Ovid. Using an elegiac verse style he expounds the varieties of amorous and erotic adventure in graceful language. Originally written for the sophisticated society of Augustan Rome, his poetry has continued to entertain and entrance readers ever since. The first two books contain advice for the predatory male, but the third Ovid devotes to the opposite sex, to avoid, as he affects to say, any charge of partiality. The whole is in the mode of the erotic A The art of love encompasses three books by Ovid. Using an elegiac verse style he expounds the varieties of amorous and erotic adventure in graceful language. Originally written for the sophisticated society of Augustan Rome, his poetry has continued to entertain and entrance readers ever since. The first two books contain advice for the predatory male, but the third Ovid devotes to the opposite sex, to avoid, as he affects to say, any charge of partiality. The whole is in the mode of the erotic Alexandrian elegy, but leavened with Ovid's wit. The tradition appears to be rooted in Asia Minor due to the nature of the diction. While the elegy was originally primarily made of laments there were erotic elegies before Ovid. Among the Greeks Mimnermus and Theognis were considered great elegiasts. The book is filled with stories and advice, here is a sample: “You ask perhaps if one should take the maid herself? Such a plan brings the greatest risk with it. In one case, fresh from bed, she’ll get busy, in another be tardy, in one case you’re a prize for her mistress, in the other herself. There’s chance in it: even if it favors the idea, my advice nevertheless is to abstain. I don’t pick my way over sharp peaks and precipices, no youth will be caught out being lead by me. Still, while she’s giving and taking messages, if her body pleases you as much as her zeal, make the lady your first priority, her companion the next: Love should never be begun with a servant.” Ovid gives a sympathetic insight into a society that was becoming consumed with a moral laxity. By contrast Horace provided a more moralistic tone of censure in his Satires. The work has enjoyed a continuing popularity ; Ovid's knowledge of human, particularly of feminine, nature, the brilliant picture of the social life of Rome, the studied artlessness of the comparisons he draws from animals and from pursuits such as hunting, farming, or sailing, the narratives that he cannot resist interweaving with his teaching---all these elements, together with a considerable degree of humor and irresistible wit, have combined to give the work a unique attractiveness. However the result of Ovid's sympathetic eroticism was the arousal of the disfavor of Augustus; Ovid was exiled for life to the coast of the Black Sea, and felt that his poetry was at least partially responsible for his misfortune. We are fortunate that the text has endured. "But avoid men who profess elegance and good looks, and who arrange their hair in its proper place. What they tell you they have told a thousand women; their fancy wanders, and has no fixed abode." - The Art of Love, Book III, 433-36.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    'Should anyone here not know the art of love, read this, and learn by reading how to love.' Well, I could use the advice. Part I - general advice - you have to actively look for your love, but she could be just about anywhere, the streets, the theater ('They come to see, they come to be seen as well: the place is fatal to chaste modesty') or especially the races, where you can sneak some free contact in the tight crowds! - then you have to win her, and 'every one of them can be won'. But beware! A wo 'Should anyone here not know the art of love, read this, and learn by reading how to love.' Well, I could use the advice. Part I - general advice - you have to actively look for your love, but she could be just about anywhere, the streets, the theater ('They come to see, they come to be seen as well: the place is fatal to chaste modesty') or especially the races, where you can sneak some free contact in the tight crowds! - then you have to win her, and 'every one of them can be won'. But beware! A woman's passion knows no limit or taboo, as evidenced through the examples of incest and bestiality in Greek legend which Ovid highlights, such as Byblis, Myrrha and Pasiphae. - 'Make promises: what harm can a promise do? ... But if you don’t give, always appear about to'. - some words of wisdom for the multi-mulletted monstrosities that parade the streets all over my town: 'don’t mar your neat hair with an evil haircut' Part II - for him - on just deserts: 'Who takes a kiss, and doesn’t take the rest, deserves to lose all that were granted too.' - on looks and personality: 'Ulysses wasn’t handsome, but he was eloquent, and still racked the sea-goddesses with love.' - on gifts: 'Even if you came, Homer, with the Muses as companions, if you brought nothing with you, Homer, you’d be out.' - on boldness: 'When you’ve reached the place, where a girl loves to be touched, don’t let modesty prevent you touching her. You’ll see her eyes flickering with tremulous brightness, as sunlight often flashes from running water.' Part III - for her - dodgy chat up line: 'before my eyes, stood Venus herself, and ordered me to teach you.' - be secretive!: 'Still, don’t let your lover find cosmetic bottles on your dressing table: art delights in its hidden face.' - be seen!: 'What’s hidden is unknown: nothing unknown’s desired: there’s no prize for a face that truly lacks a witness.' - be coy!: 'Still, don’t give cause for grief, excessively, let the anxious man suspect it, rather than know.' - be fashionably late!: 'delay’s a grand seductress' - always show that you are enjoying yourself, even if you are faking it!: 'Only beware when you feign it, lest it shows: create belief in your movements and your eyes. When you like it, show it with cries and panting breath' Summary? Ovid would be locked up today if published this book. (Oh wait, he was locked up then!)

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