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Ovid, Amores (Book 1)

William Turpin

20. Amores 1.14: Bad hair

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Estratto del testo

This poem, like Amores 1.7, is hard to like. Here the poet is not violent, but he seems to be conspicuously unsympathetic. There are moments of wit and cleverness, but taken at face value the poem is unpleasant, and it is difficult to see any satisfactory point in the end. I will suggest a reading that makes the poem more appealing (perhaps), and reads the poet as a less (or at least differently) annoying character.

If we take the first couplet literally, we have to believe that the poet’s girlfriend (we may assume she is Corinna) has, thanks to some combination of curling iron and dyes, lost all her hair. If so, we have to conclude that our poet is astonishingly heartless: a major cosmetic disaster of this sort is no time to be saying “I told you to leave it alone.” But what if he’s exaggerating? He didn’t want her to get her hair done, and now that there’s a slight problem she overreacts. Could it be that she simply got it cut shorter than either one of them had expected?

Our poet g...


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