Epistulae ex Ponto. Book I. Edited by G. Tissol.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014. IX,191p. Paperback. Series: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. 'The stated intention of the author was to produce a teaching tool. In this Tissol succeeds admirably. The book is concise and relatively user-friendly, even if readers need to page back and forth from the text of the poems to the appropriate commentary. The general set-up is predictable. The usual Preface and List of Abbreviations is followed by an Introduction of twenty-eight pages (pp.1-28). Topics covered in the Introduction are, in turn ‘Letters from exile: a new vessel for old grief,’ ‘The literary background’, ‘The higher genres and Ovidian hyperbole,’ ‘Names in the Epistulae ex Ponto, ‘Observations on style,’ ‘Fata libellorum: remarks on the early reception of the Epistulae ex Ponto’ and ‘A note on the text.’ Next follows the full text of Book I in just over twenty pages (pp.31-52). The author has, as explained in the above ‘note,’ slightly adapted Richmond’s 1990 Teubner edition, sometimes choosing alternative readings and providing only a brief apparatus that (sensibly) reports ‘only [those] readings that are discussed in the commentary’ (p.28). The commentary itself comprises 127 pages (pp.53-180), which amounts mutatis mutandis to an average of just under thirteen pages for each poem commented upon. (...) overall the commentary is useful and extremely accessible for its projected users. It is a valuable addition to the arsenal of teaching tools available for academics intent on inculcating a love of our brilliant, star-crossed poet in the next generation of anglophone Latinists, for whom it opens up aspects of Ovid’s exilic poetry. It will also be of equal value to more mature academics. Tissol’s next publications (hopefully on Books II to IV) are eagerly awaited.' (JO-MARIE CLAASSEN in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.10.60).