The Mystery of Ovid’s Exile

Helen Lovatt

in Two Thousand Years of Solitude

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603848
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731587 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

The Mystery of Ovid’s Exile

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This chapter explores different representations of the search for the reason behind Ovid’s exile (an enduring fascination) by focusing on Ovid’s exile as a subject for mystery writers. The chapter begins by exploring J. C. Thibault’s influential work of scholarship The Mystery of Ovid’s Exile (1964) before considering two novels: David Wishart’s unashamedly populist 1995 Ovid and Benita Kane Jaro’s 2009 Betray the Night. The chapter explores the attraction of Roman politics to the authors of detective fiction and these novelistic representations of Ovid’s life and exile, and poetry, arguing that popular fiction offers a distinctive insight into the reception of Ovid’s exile, and that it is more difficult than one might expect to differentiate between history and fiction, literature and pulp. The representation of Ovid’s exile is also about a battle over different types of history, and detective fiction offers an active, yet reassuringly positivist, role for the reader.

Keywords: detective fiction; David Wishart; Benita Kane Jaro; the mystery of Ovid’s exile; reception; reader; novels; representation; popular fiction

Chapter.  7207 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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