The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius by M. D. Usher

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The Golden Ass has been a favorite of the private presses and illustrators since the invention of printing. Apuleius's comic masterpiece, originally composed in Latin in the second century a.d. traces the hilarious misadventures of a young man a tad too curious about magic for his own good. Hoping to change himself into an owl, he turns himself into a donkey instead, and in this guise is sold, stolen, or otherwise shunted from one master to the next. Along the way, he sees the underbelly of the sprawling Roman Empire, with its saints and villains, its venal merchants and greedy priests, until he's transformed back to human form via divine intervention. Not only a story of comic redemption, it is also a self-conscious, early example of storytelling that left an indelible mark on subsequent literature from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Boccaccio's Decameron, from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to Pinocchio.

M.D.Usher's creative adaptation brings the tale alive for young readers of all ages. Classical scholars will admire its faithfulness and its clever innovations, while new readers young and old will enjoy its freshness and accessibility. Motley's lively, thoroughly contemporary drawings capture the boisterous, see-sawing plot, while wittily quoting any number of graphic predecessors. Here is illustration at its best, at once illuminating and expanding a text while bringing it squarely into a new century.

About M. D. Usher

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M. D. Usher is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Vermont. The author of academic books in the field of Classics, he has also written a children's picture book about Socrates and an opera libretto based on the poetry of Virgil. T. Motley is an illustrator and cartoonist. He teaches cartooning at The School of the Visual Arts and illustration at Pratt Manhattan.
Published October 31, 2011 by David R Godine. 96 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A faithful (if relatively clean) version of the world's oldest surviving complete novel, written "for librarians, teachers, scholars, and extremely intelligent children," according to the afterword.

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Golden Ass of Lucius Apul...

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