Interesting article on the Ars Amatoria up at the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers blog (I thing it’s a blog) which mentions, inter alia:
Then there’s another theory that has bounced around scholars for the last century or so: Ovid never was exiled. The main reason for this theory is that the only record of it is Ovid’s, except for “dubious” mentions by Pliny the Elder and Statius, but no one else until the 4th century CE. He did apparently die in Tomis in 17 CE, however, and has been adopted by Romanian nationalists as “The First Romanian Poet”.
I didn’t realize that the ‘phoney exile’ claim was still kicking around — near as I can tell, it hasn’t really been around (i.e. taken seriously) for at least twenty years or so. For a summary of the scholarship , check out the Wikipedia article’s section on ‘exile’ upon which the above appears to be based. Whatever the case, it’s one of those ‘literary oppositional arguments’ which can stand up because of the nature of our sources, but really is the Classics Department version of a conspiracy theory.