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Preview — The Golden Ass by Apuleius
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The Golden Ass
Testo latino a fronte
Un esperimento di magia finito male, un giovane imprudente trasformato in asino, una sequenza di traversie (e di racconti), fino al provvidenziale intervento di una dea: Iside.
Ma cosa sono davvero le Metamorfosi? Solo un racconto divertente o un percorso iniziatico? Il lettore sarà tentato di scoprire indizi di un senso più profondo in una novella dive
If you remember the old toga movies from the '50's--the ones where all the Romans are played by Brits and all the Jews and Christians by Americans--then I am sure you also remember those orgiastic banquet sequences crammed with sweaty wrestlers, kinky dancers, amphora after amphora overflowing with wine, and culinary surprises like roast oxen stuffed with pheasants (the pheasants in turn stuffed with oysters), and golden salvers heaped high with hummingbird tongues.
The Golden Ass is a lot like t ...more
The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which St. Augustine referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus), is the only ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety.
The protagonist of the novel is called Lucius. At the end of the novel, he is revealed to be from Madaurus, the hometown of Apuleius himself. The plot revolves around the protagonist's curiosity (curiositas) and insatiable desire to see and prac ...more
Golden it is, but not the ass.
For us the novel certainly has the value of gold since it is considered the earliest that has survived complete in the Western literary tradition. Originally called Metamorphoses, it is however far from being an epic like Ovid’s. Written around the middle of 2C by an Apuleius, an Algerian under Roman auspices, it probably acquired its “aureum” quality when another Algerian, Saint Augustin, gave it its second title some time later. And it was with this golden aura t ...more
That is all I can say, and I am not impressed with the manipulative tactics used by the God to make her obey "blindly". So I guess the saddest moment is her apotheosis to the divine realm of serving the Greek narcissists during their eternal banquets.
But Psyche, never mind! You had that one perfect kiss, and Canova caught it on camera! That is enough for immortality...
The genre of the novel sprung full-formed out of Apuleius’s . . . Ass. The Golden Ass is one of those infamous contenders for the title of First Novel along with such masters as Rabelais, Cervantes, Richardson (come on, people! really?) and Madame Murasaki. It is the only surviving complete exemplar of the Roman novel. Give it some credit. It’s all there. Then there is also Petronius’s work whose ...more
It could very well be a tale told by the granny - full of magic & adventure (with all the salacious bits cut out of course, but that would make it a very short tale!).
A parable, a road trip, a romance, with diversions, tales within tales, satire, containing tragedies bordering on the grotesque & farcical, bawdy comedy, sexual escapades & deviance of various sorts - ancient literature was so rich, no wonder our literary greats t ...more
I wonder when Apuleius was writing The Golden Ass, if he ever imagined this particular novel would be the only one written in Latin to have made it through his time to ours in its entirety.
Perhaps that's an unfair question, because how could a writer imagine something like that?
But if he could have somehow ...more
I don't remember exactly when I read this book. I do remember however, that it was a school assignment and that I might have been 13 or 14 years old. My judgment back then was vastly different from my judgment now and it wasn't a book I chose to read voluntarily but was forced to read it instead, which worsened things since I tended to hate every book my teachers wanted me to read on principle alone.
Anyways, since I have ...more
(Illustration by Jean de Bosschere, source)
13. The Golden Ass, or, Metamorphoses by Apuleius
translation from Latin by E. J. Kenney
Originally written: ~160 ce
format: 295 page Penguin Classics paperback
acquired: December, from a Half-Price
read: Jan 31 – Feb 20
time reading: 13 hr 55 min, 2.8 min/page
I don't think I ever fully appreciated what I was reading here. This is a pleasant read, especially as translated by Kenney, but probably also for native Latin speakers of its time as well. Lu ...more
Amusing tales within tales, recollections of characters of various misadventures and misfortunes ....
Lucius A wandering spirit Suffering in his heedless traveling over the world in order to work out his salvation.
Interesting how magic plays a prominent role in the everyday life.
His deep love of life with his eager and curiosity , and mocking ...more
In the opening paragraph, Apuleius' narrator promises us in this Milesian discourse (a romantic adventure tale that is usually bawdy) to string together ... a series of different stories and to charm your ears ... with amusing gossip, to provide us with a Grecian tale written in Latin. We are given all this and more with this precursor to the picaresque novel. The narrator apologizes if he should stumble and give offence as an unpractised speaker of the foreign idiom of the Roman courts, but ...more
Set sometime in the second century, somewhere in ancient Greece (specifically in the regions of Macedonia and Achaea, according to the appended map in the book), the story portrays the many adventures Lucius experience after his dreadful transformation into a beast of burden, an ass.
In the beginning, Lucius is portrayed ...more
An entertaining plot driven story.
'The Golden Ass' was a desperate choice. It had the advantage of not being a detective or a mystery novel, her apparent favorites. It wasn't an abridged book either--she had quite the collection of those. I had some interest in ancient history, if only from the movies and the ...more
The difficulty with writing a review for this novel is, what do we compare it to?
A lot of writers have borrowed from or been influenced by Apuleius, so it's good to be acquainted with his text. But the real meaning of it is often obscure, so the whole experience of reading it is quite peculiar.
What I liked:
The witches here are powerful :)
The ass is really, really in trouble. This has helped put my own preoccupations into perspective.
There's a lot of humour.
Everything is unpredictable and this ...more
What doesn't The Golden As ...more
Lucius (a character very loosely based on the author) is a young citizen growing up in a Roman provincial town in Greece. After completing his studies in Rome, Lucius decides to go on a trip through Boiotea, the region around Thebes. (Thebes was, in the ancient world, a literary punching bag that became almost synonymous with nefar ...more
Not so much the Fl ...more
The professor had placed it on reserve so I had to read it within the library. I never expected to be able to read it in one sitting, but once I started the book I just could not put it down. I had to move to a corner where there were no s ...more
"At length the Goddess advised me to return home. ... (p. 288)" or
... "The God added that under his divine care this man would achieve fame in a learned profession and that Asinius himself would be richly rewarded for his trouble." (p. 290)
It seems vague to me since, I think, it's writte ...more
But while I enjoyed certain parts, I was disgusted with many others. I think I would have loved this maybe ten years ago. Back then I didn't mind misogyny, or couldn't even recognize it much I guess. I read a lot of white men who wrote about whores and witches and nymphos and all that stuff. I suppose I thought it was cool of me as a woman to have such an open mind and all. Now, these days I get put off by these juvenile ...more
“Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved me to succour thee. I am she that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven!”.
• I’ve always loved the Classics. Mythology is my ancient true love.
My friend Cath recommended this novel, and I feel truly grateful to her. I loved this novel, and while I was reading it I felt nostalgic and decided to read more mytholog ...more
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He was a Numidian Berber and lived under the Roman Empire. He was from Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria). He studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; travelled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his lif ...more