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Seminar Latin: The Reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the 20th Century


Admission requirements

Secondary literature will be mainly in English. Students should also be willing to read secondary literature in other languages, such as German, French and Italian.


Ovid’s Metamorphoses & Their Receptions in the 20th and 21st Century
Ovid’s Metamophoses are the perhaps most popular work from ancient literature. Not only because they are extremely sophisticated and witty, and because they feature an intriguing web of allusions, intertextual engagements with previous literature and playfully negotiate the discourse on ‘genre’ at the time. But also because, in their reception, ancient and modern, they have been used as an inexhaustible store of reflections on mythological stories.
In this seminar, we shall (1) study, in close readings, a selection of myths Ovid presents us in the Metamorphoses and (2) explore how contemporary art and literature creatively engages with them. The selection of myths will include Actaeon, Arachne, Daphne, Icarus, Narcissus, and Pygmalion. Students are welcome to bring in further suggestions at the beginning of the seminar.
Students are required to write short commentaries on a selection of the text (Ov. Met.) and develop online quizzes which are appropriate to be used by BA students as introductory material to a certain passage from Ov. Met. and its reception in a modern artwork or creative text. Modern receptions may come from any language (as long as the student who will present it is able to provide a translation) and from any cultural context (European as well as non-European).
The challenge of the quizzes will be to introduce users (BA level) not only into the Ovidian passage and the modern text/artwork that is responding to it, but also to introduce these users playfully into the (complex) techniques of reception which is at stake here.
After evaluation, the best quizzes will be published on our online platform, where we are currently working on the development of a didactic environment and which, already now, includes a database with data on more than 5000 (until now: German and Dutch) literary texts that have been identified to have engaged with ancient literature and culture.

Course objectives

  • Survey Ovid Metamorphoses (as a whole)

  • Theoretical approaches to the reception of antiquity

  • Didiactic approaches to stimulate younger students to engage with modern reception and to detect the complexity of contemporary literature and art

  • Working with authoring tools, such as open-e-learning

  • Advanced research skills: independent formulation of a complex research question, collecting materials (both primary texts, ancient and modern, and results of earlier research). Analyzing results, constructing arguments, formulating conclusions.

  • Critical assessment of secondary literature;

  • Oral presentation: presenting clearly and making effective use of hand-outs, illustrations and/or multi-media techniques; responding to the argumentation of one of the papers and chairing the discussion

  • Written presentation: setting out research results effectively, clearly and in a well-structured manner.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Attending Classes: 28 h
Preparing classes (studying primary and secondary literature): 14 x 5 = 70 h
Preparing short oral or written presentations (including online material): 14 h

+ – in case of 5 EC (= 140 h in total)
Preparing paper (1000 words): 28 h

– in case of 10 EC (= 280 h in total)
Preparing paper (1000 + 5000 words): 6 x 28 = 168 h

The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: ResMA students are expected to come up with their own original research topic, find literature, and write a scholarly report; MA students may expect more help in choosing their topic and their papers may consist of an assessment of the status quaestionis on a given question.

Assessment method

In case of 5 ECTS:
Active participation: preparation of the pensum (20%)
Developing online material (quizzes) (30%)
Short oral or written presentations (30 %)
Paper (1000 words) (20%)

In case of 10 ECTS:
Active participation, preparation of the pensum (10%)
Developing online material (quizzes) (15%)
Short oral or written presentations (15 %)
Paper (1000 words) (10%)
Paper (5000 words) (50%). You can either chose a different topic or include (a revised version of) your 1000 words-paper, i.e. submit a paper of 6000 words (which then counts 60% of your final grade).

Papers (1000 words) are to be submitted before 6 may 2024 and will be discussed at the end of the course. Students who want to react on the feedback and to submit a revised version, are welcome to do so before 10 jun 2024.

Papers deadline: 10 jun 2024 (50%/60%)

(This final deadline goes for all papers, the revised versions as well as new papers)

If the overall mark is unsatisfactory, either the written exam or the paper can be repeated after consultation with the teacher. The marks for the oral presentation and the response will still count in such a case.

Reading list

Ovid’s Metamorphoses will be studied in the edition of Anderson 2008 (Teubner edition). All students are required to bring their own exemplars or to download the digital version available via the catalogue of the University Library.

a. Texteditions:

Anderson, W.S. ed. (2008). P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses. Berlin/NewYork.
Tarrant, R.J. ed. (2004). P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses. Oxford.

b. Commentaries
Anderson, W.S. (1972-1997). Ovid's Metamorphoses (book 1-5: 1997, book 6-10: 1972). Norman.
Bömer, F. (1969-1986). P. Ovidius Naso: Metamorphosen. Kommentar. (book 1-3: 1969, book 4-5: 1976, book 6-7: 1976, book 8-9: 1977, book 10-11: 1980, book 12-13: 1982, book 14-15: 1986). Heidelberg.
Hill, D.E. (1985-2000). Ovid: Metamorphoses (book 1-4: 1985, book 13-15: 2000). Warminster.

I: Lee, A.G. (1953). P. Ovidi Nasonis Metamorphoseon liber I. Cambridge.
II: Moore-Blunt, J.J. (1977). A Commentary on Ovid, Metamorphoses II. Uithoorn.
VI: Ramírez de Verger, A. (2021). Book VI of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A Commentary. Berlin/New York.
VIII: Hollis, A.S. (1970). Ovid: Metamorphoses Book VIII. Oxford.
X: O’Bryhim, S. (2021). A Student’s Commentary on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Book 10. Chichester.
XI: Murphy, G.M.H. (1972). Ovid: Metamorphoses Book XI. Oxford.
XIII: Hopkinson, N. ed. (2001). Ovid. Metamorphoses. Book XIII. Cambridge.
Rivero García, L. (2018). Book XIII of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A Textual Commentary. Berlin/New York.
XIV: Myers, K.S. ed. (2009). Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book XIV. Cambridge.

c. Introductions
Hardie, Ph. Ed. (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Ovid. Cambridge.

d. Reception Theory
Martindale, Ch. (1993). Redeeming the Text. Latin Poetry and the Hermeneutics of Reception. Cambridge.
Martindale, Ch., Thomas R.F. eds. (2006). Classics and the Uses of Reception. Malden, MA.

e. Reception of Ovid
Annes Brown, S (2014). Contemporary Poetry After After Ovid. In: J.F. Miller, C.E. Newland, eds. A Handbook to the Reception of Ovid, Chichester, pp. 436-453.
Kennedy, D. (2006). Recent Receptions of Ovid. In: Ph. Hardie, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, Cambridge, pp. 320-335.
Xiong, Y. (2022).Themes of Women’s Vengeance and Filicide in Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Reception and Comparison in Modern Chinese Literature. In: Th.J. Sienkewicz, J. Liu, eds. Ovid in China. Leiden/Boston, pp. 237-260.
Ziolkowski, Th. (2009). Ovid in the Twentieth Century. In: P.E. Knox, ed. A Companion to Ovid, Oxford, pp. 455-468.

A fuller bibliography will be provided during the seminar.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Students are required to attend the classes regularly, to be fully prepared and to join the discussions.
The number of registrations is limited to 10.