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The Golden Ass by Apuleius
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The Golden Ass

by Apuleius

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (33)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Once again I face the situation in which I don't know why this book is in the list of the "1001 books to read before you die". I'm not dismissing the whatsoever historical importance of this book, I just don't see the big deal in it. Is it the archaic language? The metaphors? The writing style, maybe it was the responsible for consolidating a new literature trend or something like that? Regardless, I'm not particularly proud for having read this book simply because I did not understand what's so good about it. The story was... okay. If you take it for a fantasy book, it's about a random guy who got himself turned into a... donkey and lived lots of adventures while hearing several mythological stories. Ehrm... nice?
I do have a problem with older books: their writing style. Like in Heart of Darkness, this book sews together several occurrences in such a way that you can't really "take a break" from what you're reading (meaning you'll have paragraphs that last for two or three pages and have little to no punctuation, for they are part of one single idea). As a result, it's very, very easy to get lost with everything that's going on, which also means you'll probably have to do some re-reading of several paragraphs. Well, at least unlike Heart of Darkness, this book is slightly easier to understand in spite of the archaic English writing style.
I didn't absolutely hate this book, but if my friend hadn't chosen it blindly for me to read it, I would never, ever have picked it. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
Some tout this as a "great" book. I find it gross. Lewd, nude and crude with a primitive (if any) morality, I can't figure why anyone would consider it "great" other than a great disappointment. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
This Ass is packed with tales that are as full of characters as they are hard to follow. Make sure you get yourself a good translation of this if you want to have half a chance of following what’s going on as there are stories within stories. I reckon this is where they got the idea for Inception from.

The very basic moral is that messing with magic doesn’t pay. Experimenting, Lucius the author and narrator turns himself into an ass, albeit a very nice one. The solution to his plight turns out to be simple: eat a rose. But before he can do so, he is stolen by a band of robbers and his adventures begin.

I tried very hard to keep up with the plot/s but lost it/them several times. So, I found the book a bit confusing and sometimes it took a while before I realised where I was and what had happened. But then, I felt the same way about Ovid’s Metamorphosis too. I’m just thankful I wasn’t born 2000 years ago and only had this to read.

However, this is an extremely important and influential book, not least because it is the only complete novel we have left to us in Latin. Many writers have been influenced by it and the stories it contains. As a result, how I felt about it doesn’t count for much. This is on the 1001 list and so it should be. ( )
  arukiyomi | Feb 22, 2014 |
Graves' translation of this 1800 year-old novel is genuinely funny and entertaining, occasionally naughty or fantastic, and entirely deserving of a wider readership. ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Aug 1, 2013 |
A witty, fairly smutty, surprisingly good read for a book written approximately 1850 years ago. ( )
  ELiz_M | Apr 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (237 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Apuleiusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlington, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanson, J. ArthurEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helm, RudolfEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunink, VincentTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kenney, E.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marziano, NinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quintáns Suárez, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Relihan, Joel C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roncoroni, FedericoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, M.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, P.G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whibley, CharlesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmerman, MaaikeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Business once took me to Thessaly, where my mother's family originated; I have, by the way, the distinction of being descended through her from the famous Plutarch.
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Cupid and Psyche (I)
'Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who had three very beautiful daughters.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140435905, Paperback)

Lucius, a young man whose fascination with witchcraft leads him to believe he can be transformed into a bird, instead becomes a donkey. Whirled off by robbers, he embarks on a series of adventures and misadventures. Confronted eventually with the prospect of a stage performance where he is supposed to demonstrate his sexual prowess with a woman, he is overwhelmed by a religious vision and is finally initiated into the cult of the goddess Isis.

It has been long disputed whether Apuleius meant this last-minute conversion seriously or as a final comic surprise and the challenge of interpretation continues to keep readers fascinated by this work. Apuleius’ Golden Ass is the most continuously and accessibly amusing book that has come down to us from classical antiquity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:44 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

After Lucius is transformed into an ass because of his curiosity and fascination for sex and magic, he suffers a series of trials and humiliations before being transformed back into human shape by the kindness of Isis.

» see all 2 descriptions

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