The Golden Ass by Apuleius

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With accuracy, wit, and intelligence, this remarkable new translation of The Golden Ass breathes new life into Apuleius's classic work. Sarah Ruden, a lyric poet as well as a highly respected translator, skillfully duplicates the verbal high jinks of Apuleius's ever-popular novel. It tells the story of Lucius, a curious and silly young man, who is turned into a donkey when he meddles with witchcraft. Doomed to wander from region to region and mistreated by a series of deplorable owners, Lucius at last is restored to human form with the help of the goddess Isis.

The Golden Ass, the first Latin novel to survive in its entirety, is related to the Second Sophistic, a movement of learned and inventive literature. In a translation that is both the most faithful and the most entertaining to date, Ruden reveals to modern readers the vivid, farcical ingenuity of Apuleius's style.


About Apuleius

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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.
Published January 24, 2012 by Yale University Press. 289 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

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