“Ovid feels strangely present these days, as if the country is reckoning under his riotous star.”

Reading Ovid in the Age of #MeToo – Katy Waldman – New Yorker – 2/12/18

“In 2015, four Columbia University undergraduates published an op-ed in their student paper petitioning English professors to affix trigger warnings to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The poem’s ‘vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault,’ they wrote, were distressing to survivors, one of whom ‘was essentially dismissed . . . her concerns ignored’ when she approached a lecturer after class to complain. The opinion piece sparked a predictable imbroglio. Less sophisticated critics decried Columbia’s ‘self-centered Care Bears’; sharper observers objected to how the trigger-warning conversation disguised the larger preoccupations of the text, veiling ethical questions of force and consent in the language of personal harm. What was clear, even then, was that Ovid had the power to illuminate disturbing aspects of our contemporary culture. Students sensed something volatile and dangerous in the poem—something close to home.”

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