The Fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass: A Study in Transmission and Reception

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Princeton University Press, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 365 pages
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"Donkeys get little enough respect, and to have been made the subject of a comic novel has done little for their reputation or for that of the author, Apuleius. Julia Haig Gaisser follows Apuleius and his donkey through a journey of many centuries--a journey as remarkable as the one recounted in the novel. She is wise, witty, learned, and sharp-eyed: the perfect guide."--James J. O'Donnell, Georgetown University

"This is a terrific book. Julia Gaisser follows the fortunes of the Roman sophist Apuleius and his masterpiece, the Golden Ass, in the centuries after the author's death. Through a richly learned and imaginative inquiry, she shows us how the text itself survived, first in manuscript and then in print, how scholars tried to understand it, and how it sparked the curiosity and creativity of philosophers, imaginative writers, and artists working in radically different times and contexts. Meticulous in its scholarship, interdisciplinary in its method, and encyclopedic in its erudition, this study can serve as a model for anyone tracing the afterlife of an ancient or modern author."--Anthony T. Grafton, Princeton University

"Gaisser undertakes a comprehensive review of the fortunes of Apuleius' famous Latin novel about a man who is transformed into a donkey. She deploys with elegance and wit her research on the reception of this work from antiquity to the renaissance. Her attention to visual representations of Apuleian episodes is particularly welcome."--Glen W. Bowersock, professor emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study

"This is a superb piece of scholarship that will energize the readership of the Golden Ass. It gathers and analyzes information that has been hidden for decades in a labyrinth of German, French, and Italian manuscripts, libraries, and journals. It will transform what kind of readings we can perform on the Golden Ass by providing a rich and accurate source for reception theory and intertextual studies."--Benjamin Lee, Oberlin College


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Apuleius A Celebrity and His Image
Exemplary Behavior The Golden Ass from Late Antiquity to the Prehumanists
A Mixed Reception Interpreting and Illuminating the Golden Ass in the Fourteenth Century
Making an Impression From Florence to Rome and from Manuscript to Print
Telling Tales The Golden Ass in Ferrara and Mantua
Apuleius Redux Filippo Beroaldo Comments on the Golden Ass
Speaking in Tongues Translations of the Golden Ass
The Fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass
Manuscripts of Apuleius Metamorphoses
Extant Manuscripts of the Metamorphoses Written before 1400
The Florentine Connection
Adlington and His Sources for Met 111
Index of Manuscripts
General Index

Ancient Readers of Apuleius ca 350 to ca 550 AD

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About the author (2008)

Julia Haig Gaisser is Eugenia Chase Guild Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of Catullus, Catullus in English, Pierio Valeriano on the Ill Fortune of Learned Men, and Catullus and His Renaissance Readers.

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