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(06/13/2008) The Golden Ass by Apuleius. New York. 1951. Farrar Straus & Young. Translated From The Latin By Robert Graves. keywords: Classics Literature Roman Latin Translated. 293 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In all literature there are few books with the vitality of THE GOLDEN ASS. Boccaccio borrowed freely from it; and later it served both to amuse and instruct Cervantes, Fielding, and Smollett. T. E. Lawrence carried it, in its original Latin, in his saddlebags with him all through the Arab Revolt, and it was Lawrence who first introduced the book to his friend Robert Graves. Mr. Graves has now freed the story from the archaic language with which it was encrusted, and at last the modern reader may, for the first time, appreciate for himself the lusty incident, curious adventure, and bawdy wit in which THE GOLDEN ASS abounds. The story is about Lucious Apuleius, a young man of good birth, who, while disporting himself in the cities and along the roads of Thessally, encountered many diverting and strange adventures. Not the least of these was that Apuleius offended a priestess of the White Goddess and for his offense suffered the indignity of being turned into an ass. How Apuleius supported his misfortune and how he contrived at last to appease the Goddess and resume his human form make up the body of the tale. Robert Graves has obviously enjoyed his labors on the story, for he writes: 'It is not strictly speaking the first modern novel, because Petronius' incomplete SATYRICON antedates it by a century, but it is the most amusing, the most terrifying, and most sincere. ' To which the publishers can only add, in the words of both Robert Graves and Apuleius, 'Now read on and enjoy yourselves!'

 

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