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I came across this sentence:

In Ovid, he is a sculptor and citizen of Cyprus.

We know Ovid is a poet, and the current author discusses the works of Ovid. Can the preposition in (“in Ovid”) be used this way, as opposed to something like “in the works of Ovid”? I couldn’t find this usage of preposition “in” in my research.

I am asking about the use of "in" in front of "Ovid" in the example sentence. Another example:

In Shelley, romance and politics were given equal importance.

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  • I am sorry if I was not clear. I was asking about the use of "in" in front of "Ovid" in the example sentence. Another example: " In Shelly, romance and politics were given equal importance."
    – Arun
    Aug 24, 2018 at 1:28
  • No clearer than it was before. (But note that "In Ovid" is a sort of shorthand for "In the works of Ovid". Fairly normal phrasing.)
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 24, 2018 at 1:42

2 Answers 2

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Yes, for writers or poets (in particular Shakespeare), "in LastName" is sometimes used to mean "in LastName's works". In my experience, it's not very common for less popular authors (but I'm not sure how much of this is the fact that less popular authors are talked about less).

Here are some examples:

The lack of mothers in Shakespeare is notorious.
Where Are the Mothers in Shakespeare?

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Thus, in Keats and Shakespeare we see the philosophy of an acceptance of uncertainty, self-abandonment to mystery, and delight in doubt.
John Keats: The notion of negative capability and poetic vision

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The Purpose of an Alternate Reality in Rowling and Carroll

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The idea that "money is the root of al evil" can be found not only in Tolstoy but also in Shakespeare.
Obstacles in the pursuit of happiness.

If you need more examples, an easy, guaranteed way to find some is to search COCA for something like in shakespeare _y* (the _y* here matches punctuation).


Also: You'll see "in Smith (1989)" (for example) in many, many, many scholarly publications, which is similar, but I'm not sure if it's related to the above phenomenon.

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In Ovid

is a short version of

somewhere in the collective works of Ovid

This abbreviation is often applied when the speaker and/or writer is dealing with world-acclaimed, time-tested authors. "It is a situation one often encounters in Rowling" would sound a bit awkward.

Similarly, "I just bought a Rembrandt" means that the person has purchased a painting from the collective works of that artist, rather than that artist's clone.

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