Born of an equestrian family in Sulmo, Ovid was educated in rhetoric in Rome but gave it up for poetry. He counted Horace and Propertius among his friends and wrote an elegy on the death of Tibullus. He became the leading poet of Rome but was banished in 8 A.D. by an edict of Augustus to remote Tomis on the Black Sea because of a poem and an indiscretion. Miserable in provincial exile, he died there ten years later. His brilliant, witty, fertile elegiac poems include Amores (Loves), Heroides (Heroines), and Ars Amatoris (The Art of Love), but he is perhaps best known for the Metamorphoses, a marvelously imaginative compendium of Greek mythology where every story alludes to a change in shape. Ovid was admired and imitated throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson knew his works well. His mastery of form, gift for narration, and amusing urbanity are irresistible.
David R. Slavitt was born in White Plains, New York in 1935. He received an AB and an MA from Columbia University. After graduating from college and beginning a Ph.D., he worked as a movie critic for Newsweek from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. During this time, he published his first book of poetry, Suits for the Dead. His first novel, Rochelle, or Virtue Rewarded, was published in 1966. He has written about 100 works of fiction, poetry, and poetry and drama in translation including Alice at 80, The Cock Book, Falling from Silence: Poems, The Latin Odes of Jean Dorat, Milton's Latin Poems, and Three Greenlandic Poets. He also writes under the names David Benjamin, Henry Lazarus, Lynn Meyer, and Henry Sutton. As Henry Sutton, he has written less "literary" works that have sold well such as The Exhibitionist and The Sacrifice: A Novel of the Occult.