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Ohio Wesleyan Professor Publishes Comprehensive Analysis of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’
Lee Fratantuono’s ‘Madness Transformed’ Continues Research of Previously Published ‘Madness Unchained’

June 28, 2011

DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University faculty member Lee Fratantuono’s new book, “Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” provides the “most comprehensive commentary yet” of the Latin narrative poem that uses mythology to examine the world from its beginning to Augustan Rome in A.D. 8.

The book, Fratantuono’s third, was released June 11 by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Fratantuono, Ph.D., is an associate professor of classics and the Whitlock Professor of Latin at Ohio Wesleyan, where he has taught since 2005.

“Madness Transformed” is a comprehensive introduction to Ovid’s epic poem, one of the more important surviving sources of contemporary commentary on the rule of early Roman emperors. Fratantuono analyzes every scene of the epic and presents a detailed, critical study of Ovid’s poetic response to both Virgil’s “Aeneid” and Horace’s odes.

In reviewing the 514-page book, Shadi Bartsch, Ph.D., a classics professor of the University of Chicago, writes: “Fratantuono’s careful and sensitive reading of the Metamorphoses is full of illuminating insights into Ovid’s ‘tissue of allusions’ and his reflections on the Augustan era. This study offers the most comprehensive commentary yet on the epic’s structure, its relationship to [Virgil’s] Aeneid, and Ovid’s play with his literary inheritance.”

Fratantuono also is the author of “Madness Unchained: A Reading of Virgil’s Aeneid” (2007), “A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid XI” (2009), and some two dozen articles on Latin poetry. He is completing his fourth book (on Lucan’s “Pharsalia”), scheduled for publication in 2012, and he has begun work on a commentary of Book 5 of the “Aeneid” with Holly Sypniewski, Ph.D., associate professor of classical studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.

In addition, Fratantuono recently finished a project with New York classicist and doctoral student Johanna Braff that has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Belgian journal “L’Antiquité classique.” The paper, “Communis Erinys: The Image of Helen in the Latin Poets,” provides a comprehensive study of how Helen of Troy is presented in Latin poetry from the early republic through the late empire, with special focus on her depiction by Virgil and Ovid. The paper follows his article “Decus fluviorum: Juturna in the Aeneid,” published this spring in the peer-reviewed Italian journal “Athenaeum.”

Learn more about Fratantuono, more about his new book, or more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Humanities-Classics.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.