By means of this unusual art form, Ovid personalizes and brings to life many of the outstanding women of classical myth, such as Penelope, Dido and Ariadne. The final 'double letters' of the book allow legendary heroes such as Paris to initiate the correspondence and their lovers to respond to their pleas. All the letters are alive with the tension between private love and public law; each is written in the urgency of a moment of crisis, the writer impressing his or her own character on love's irrationality, fury, tenderness, despair and longing. And while Ovid's verse-letter form, so slyly perfect to convey the follies of love, makes the Heroides rich in irony, it is richer still in poetry and desire. Harold Isbell's translation and metre perfectly capture the lightness and nuances of Ovid's original.