In a new book, prof translates ancient advice for the lovelorn

When it comes to offering advice to the lovelorn, classics professor Michael Fontaine thinks some of the best wisdom comes from looking back—way back.

In his latest book, "How to Get Over a Breakup: An Ancient Guide to Moving On," Fontaine translates, from the Latin, 2,000-year-old romance tips from the Roman poet Ovid, whose suggestions range from heartfelt to humorous and downright raunchy.

Says Fontaine: “There’s some actionable advice, some stuff that’s questionable, and some stuff that can’t possibly be taken seriously.”

Some of Ovid’s wisdom echoes the common-sense advice you’d get from your besties after a romantic reversal: staying busy, taking up a new hobby, going on vacation, and (in the poet’s words) “minimizing and belittling your ex’s best features.”

Even the most broken-hearted readers, however, will likely decline another of Ovid’s tips: putting your lost love out of your mind by going off to war.

“Ovid is known as the biggest jerk in all of antiquity,” Fontaine says with a laugh.

“But he was as clever as anybody who has ever lived, and wrote hilarious poetry.”

The book is the latest entry—and the fourth by Fontaine—in Princeton University Press’s “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers” series, which packages advice from the classical world on a variety of topics.

Read the full story on the Cornellians website

More News from A&S

Person posing next to a statue