Unveiling the world’s first ‘limerepic’
St. Olaf College Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics Christopher Brunelle will unveil his new translation of Ovid’s The Art of Love in a marathon reading of all 2,400 lines Wednesday.
The Art of Love is a three-volume guide to finding, winning, and keeping a lover. According to Brunelle, no previous English translation of the poem has captured the light tone and playful wit of the original Latin. So for his translation, titled Love Is a Rhythmical Art, Brunelle chose a rather surprising form: the limerick.
“The limerick is perfectly suited to witty, amorous poetry, and its unexpected use in a poem of near-epic length — a ‘limerepic’ — is just what the Doctor of Love ordered,” Brunelle writes in Amphora, the outreach journal of the American Philological Association (the article starts on page 16).
Brunelle will perform all three hours of the world’s first “limerepic” by himself, with only a few breaks and light snacks to sustain him. The reading, which falls on Ovid’s birthday, will also include illustrations throughout — though there will be “nothing too salacious,” Brunelle adds. He’ll also stream the entire reading online.
Brunelle is no stranger to marathon sessions of ancient poetry, having coordinated a 15-hour reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses last year.
In addition to his recent translation work, he is writing a scholarly commentary on the third book of The Art of Love, to be published by Oxford University Press.