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Vol. 53 The Middle English Text of ‘Caxton’s Ovid’, Books II–III

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

Wolfgang Mager (ed.)

William Caxton completed his English translation of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ in 1480 in Westminster. It is, however, not based on the Latin original, but on a moralized, that is, allegorized French version, the so-called ‘Ovide moralisé en prose II’. There the stories and transformations are first told and then usually provided with an allegorical explanation. Caxton translated the French text fairly literally on the whole, but he was very fond of binomials and adopted them not only from his source, but also introduced many new ones.

Diana Rumrich’s edition of Book I was published in 2011 as MET 43, and now Wolfgang Mager offers a critical edition of Books II–III together with the French source, as well as an introduction, commentary, index of names, glossary and bibliography.

This volume is the second in a series designed to edit the whole of ‘Caxton’s Ovid’.

'Mager does a good job'

'Overall this is a useful edition to have, forming as it does a follow-up volume to MET 43 (2011) by Diana Rumrich, who has edited Book I of Caxton’s Ovid ... both volumes are part of an editing project; we look forward to the remaining twelve books.'

Veronica O'Mara
Journal of the Early Book Society 20 (2017)