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The Folger Spotlight

Ovid, Shakespeare, and 'The Latinist' (Part One)

Held on the first Thursday of the month, the Folger’s virtual book club is free and open to all. To spark discussion, speakers provide historical context, throw in trivia, and speak to relevant items from the library collection in a brief presentation to participants before small-group discussion begins.

Here, we revisit conversation between emma poltrack and Dr. Will Tosh as part of our discussion of The Latinist, the first of a two-part series. Discussion questions for the novel can be found here.

We would like to thank the Capitol Hill Community Foundation and the Junior League of Washington for their generous support of this program.

emma poltrack (Community and Audience Engagement Program Manager, Folger Shakespeare Library): The Latinist builds itself as a loose adaptation of the Daphne and Apollo myth. For those who aren’t familiar with that myth, I was wondering if you could summarize what that story is to start us off.

Dr. Will Tosh (Head of Research, Shakespeare’s Globe): Sure. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is 15 books, and many, many stories, offers a sort of  sweeping account of creation and the actions of the Immortal Gods and humans. The Daphne and Apollo story comes quite early on, so the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses includes the creation of the Golden Age, a terrible flood, a rather genesis -like terrible flood, and then the recovery of the earth. The Apollo and Daphne story occupies that redawning period just after the great flood.

Look out for the second part of our conversation, to be published on The Folger Spotlight later this month.

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