From Ovid to Rushdie: Ovid’s Influence on Later Literature

Dante, Michelino

Dante

Rushdie

Why has Ovid’s influence survived for centuries? One of history’s most celebrated (or infamous!) authors, Ovid has served as an icon for many later writers: Dante Alighieri, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Joyce, and Rushdie, among others. The reason for this pervasive impact, which transcends both time and genre, is two-fold. The first was Ovid’s literary genius; works like his Ars Amatoria, Metamorphoses, and Tristia, to name only a few, exhibit the poet’s art, wit, and inventiveness. The second reason for Ovid’s importance to later writers centers around his exile in 8 AD at the hands of the emperor Augustus. Scholarly debate over the exact cause of his exile continues today, but, as a poet who continued to write despite censorship, Ovid’s stature is assured. What Ovid accomplished as a poet in exile offers threatened authors everywhere an inspirational model, and no one was more fired by his example than Dante Alighieri or Salman Rushdie. Read full essay > >