Friday, December 23, 2011

Seven Olympians

Monday 16th January 2012,

6:15 pm (supper with wine) for 6:45 pm start (ends 8:30 pm)

St Olave's, Hart Street, London EC3 (near Tower Hill)

A brand new series of supper lectures by Graham Fawcett on seven poets in history whose achievements on the page have made them national heroes, each evening also including the performance of a piano sonata by Beethoven

Seven Olympians 1


and Simon Watterton plays Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 14 No. 1 in E major

£15 (includes supper) on the door


Monday 16th January 2012

at 6:15pm for 6:45pm


Publius Ovidius Naso

"We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings”.

All welcome, including those who will be coming for the first time.
These lectures are written to be enjoyed one by one.
You do not need to have attended the preceding lecture(s)

Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim.
Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you.

(Ovid, Elegy XIa)

About Ovid

Consummate showman and stand-up comic that he was, and still is, nearly 2000 years on, Ovid would have relished the fact that the English-speaking world’s short version of his name is divo, male equivalent of a diva, but only when spelled backwards.

Publius Ovidius Naso was born the year after Caesar’s assassination, was educated in Rome , and started reading his poems in public at the age of 16. His work gives us master-classes in how to write with profound and rollicking delicacy about love and sex, put on a spectacular poetic pageant of transformation myths, and sing with great pathos from direct experience of the heartache of exile.

In BBC Radio 4's programme 'Archive on 4: Ted Hughes: Memorial Tones' on Saturday 10th December 2011, Seamus Heaney said of Ovid's importance to Ted Hughes, "I think the Metamorphoses, man into beast, or tree, or whatever, suited everything in him, you know. It wasn’t English but it was part of his inheritance in a way, Ovid having been part of the furnishings of the Renaissance mind with the corroboration of Shakespeare: the mythological part of himself responded to Ovid; a lot of energy released".

Hughes’s Tales From Ovid (1997) is one of the latest poetry books to attest to Ovid’s powerful influence on English poets and poetry especially through his Metamorphoses, while Chaucer, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare are among the earliest, Francis Meres declaring that that “the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare”.

But so often the Ovid we admire is the metrical gymnast making us gasp over and over again at the outrageous virtuosity of his mastery of form and content, the parallel bars of a poetry which fine translations reveal as speaking to our own times. So modern does he go on sounding, indeed, that the Italian writer and critic Giuseppe Pontiggia has even described him as a “contemporary of the future”.

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