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The Golden Ass

Overview

The Golden Ass by Apuleius is a unique, entertaining, and thoroughly readable Latin novel - the only work of fiction in Latin to have survived in entirety from antiquity. It tells the story of the hero Lucius, whose curiosity and fascination for sex and magic results in his transformation into an ass. After suffering a series of trials and humiliations, he is ultimately transformed back into human shape by the kindness of the Goddess Isis. Simultaneously a blend of romantic adventure, fable, and religious ...
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Overview

The Golden Ass by Apuleius is a unique, entertaining, and thoroughly readable Latin novel - the only work of fiction in Latin to have survived in entirety from antiquity. It tells the story of the hero Lucius, whose curiosity and fascination for sex and magic results in his transformation into an ass. After suffering a series of trials and humiliations, he is ultimately transformed back into human shape by the kindness of the Goddess Isis. Simultaneously a blend of romantic adventure, fable, and religious testament, the Golden Ass is one of the truly seminal books of European Literature, of intrinsic interest as a novel in its own right, and one of the earliest examples of the picaresque. It includes as its famous centrepiece the myth of Cupid and Psyche, the search of the human soul for union with the divine, and has been the inspiration for numerous creative works of literature and art since the Renaissance. This new translation is at once faithful to the meaning of the Latin, whilst reproducing all the exuberant gaiety of the original.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140435900
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 161,563
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Apuleius was born about AD 125 in Madaura or Madauros (moden Mdaurusch), a Roman colony in the North African province of Numidia. His father, from whom he inherited a substantial fortune, was one of the two chief magistrates (duouiri) of the city. For his education Apuleius was sent first to Carthage, the capital of roman North Africa, and then to Athens. During his time abroad he traveled widely, spending some time in Rome, where he practiced as a pleader in the courts. While detained by illness on his way home at Oea in Tripoli, he met and married the wealthy widow Pudentilla. This was at the instance of one of her sons, whome he had known at Rome; but other members of her family objected and prosecuted Apuleius on various charges, principally that of winning Pudentilla's affections by magic. Their accuations were brilliantly and it would seem successfully rebutted by Apuleius in his Apology, delivered in or shortly before AD 160. He appears to have spent the rest of his life in Carthage, where he became a notable public figure, holding the chief priesthood of the province and honoured with a statue. His contemporary reputation rested on his neo-Platonic philosophical writings, of which the most important that survive are On the God of Socrates (De de Socratis) and On Plato and His Doctrine (De Platone et eius dogmate), and on his oratory, of which we have excerpted speciments in his Florida. The modern world knows him best as the author of the great serio-comic novel The Golden Ass or Transformations (Metamorphoses), which he is generally thought to have written after his return to Carthage. He probably died about AD 180.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    those crazy Romans

    Reading this book was one of the highlights of my ancient history class. Apuleius paints a vivid picture of Roman society while telling this 'Grecian' tale. While there are innumerable sexual episodes that may be shocking to a modern reader, they were quite the norm at the time and make the book that much more interesting. As well as being extremely entertaining, this book is a witty social commentary that demonstrates typical male Roman attitudes. Sexist? A bit. Obscene? At times. Worth reading? Absolutely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Ruden's translation is a delight

    "The Golden Ass" is a rowdy, bawdy book with the exquisite myth of Cupid and Psyche retold in the middle. I've loved Robert Graves' translation for years, but Sarah Ruden's translation is lively and luscious. It's an excellent read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2011

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    Posted March 16, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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