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Vol. 43 The Middle English Text of ‘Caxton’s Ovid’, Book I

Edited from Cambridge, Magdalene College, Old Library, MS F.4.34 with a Parallel Text of The ‚Ovide moralisé en prose II’. Edited from Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS fonds français 137 

Diana Rumrich (ed.) 

‘Caxton’s Ovid’ is a Middle English translation by William Caxton, which he completed in 1480, of a Middle French version of the ‘Ovide moralisé en prose II’. This edition presents Book I of the two texts in parallel. ‘Caxton’s Ovid’ and the ‘Ovide moralisé en prose II’ derive from a wider group of allegorized versions of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ and represent a synthesis of classical and Christian learning. This edition shows one way in which the Middle Ages accommodated Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’: here it is presented as an encyclopaedic compendium in which classical mythology, which combines Ovid’s transformation myths with myths from other sources, is enriched with Christian learning, biblical episodes, and other encyclopaedic details. The introduction addresses the question of Caxton as translator, and the edited texts are followed by a commentary and glossary. The volume is the first in a series designed to edit the whole of ‘Caxton’s Ovid’.

‘This edition … offers the most thorough analysis to date of the textual situation surrounding Caxton’s Ovid’

‘… provides a full and cogent synthesis of the best textual analyses of Caxton’s Ovid, much of which has been inaccessible to English-speaking scholars …’

‘This edition forms a highly valuable contribution to the state of scholarship on Caxton’s Ovidian translation, and it will be instrumental for all future study of the text, its sources, and its cultural framework.’

‘… moves the state of critical discussion on Caxton’s Ovid decidedly in the right direction …’

Jamie C. Fumo
Journal of English and Germanic Philology