The Golden Ass

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, May 28, 1998 - Fiction - 267 pages
7 Reviews
Written towards the end of the second century AD, The Golden Ass tells the story of the many adventures of a young man whose fascination with witchcraft leads him to be transformed into a donkey. The bewitched Lucius passes from owner to owner - encountering a desperate gang of robbers and being forced to perform lewd 'human' tricks on stage - until the Goddess Isis finally breaks the spell and Lucius is initiated into her cult. Apuleius' enchanting story has inspired generations of writers such as Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats with its dazzling combination of allegory, satire, bawdiness and sheer exuberance, and remains the most continuously and accessibly amusing book to have survived from Classical antiquity.

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Review: The Golden Ass: Or Metamorphoses (Penguin Classics)

User Review  - Melody - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this earliest of novels right up till the end. The preposterous scenes, the ribald stories, and the beautiful Cupid and Psyche story- it's one of those books that made me grin time ... Read full review

About the author (1998)

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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