Chapter

The Myth is Out There

Ioannis Ziogas

in Two Thousand Years of Solitude

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603848
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731587 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603848.003.0017

Series: Classical Presences

The Myth is Out There

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Ovid’s exile poetry declares that the poet has become a character from his Metamorphoses, while emphasizing the separation of Ovid’s book from its creator. This chapter argues that this factual/fictional polarity is also a central aspect in David Malouf’s novel An Imaginary Life, which records the poet’s struggle to survive and adjust in Tomis and ends with Ovid’s rebirth and transformation through the mediation of the Child, a wild boy who brings the metropolitan poet back to Nature. The very title of the novel juxtaposes the historical and the fictional dimension of Ovid’s exile; the novel begins programatically with a description of Tomis which turns out to be a mental dystopia, and as the novel progresses, myth breaks the boundaries of reality. Other boundaries are crossed too, as Malouf’s version of Ovid’s exile translates the Roman poet to the discourse and the topoi of postcolonial literature.

Keywords: David Malouf; An Imaginary Life; postcolonial literature; Metamorphoses; fictional; factual; dystopia; Tomis; novel; boundaries

Chapter.  7276 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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