Ovid's poetry is haunted obsessively by a sense both of the living fullness of the texts and of the emptiness of these 'insubstantial pageants'. This major study touches on the whole of Ovid's output, from the Amores to the exile poetry, and is the first overarching treatment of illusionism and the textual conjuring of presence in the corpus. Modern critical and theoretical approaches, accompanied by close readings of individual passages, examine the topic from the points of view of poetics and rhetoric, aesthetics, the psychology of desire, philosophy, religion and politics. There are also case studies of the reception of Ovid's poetics of illusion in Renaissance and modern literature and art. The book will interest students and scholars of Latin and later European literatures. All foreign languages are accompanied by translations.
'... a book produced in exemplary fashion by Cambridge University Press, and which constantly sent me back to read more extended passages of the poet.' Notes and Queries '... this book ... should be in the hands not only of anyone interested in Ovid, but of anyone interested in ancient, or modern, poetics as well.' Journal of Roman Studies