304 pages, 7.79 × 5.09 × 0.77 in
October 1, 1998
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0140435905
ISBN - 13: 9780140435900
From the Publisher
An enchanting story that has inspired generations of writers, including Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats
Written towards the end of the second century AD, The Golden Ass tells the story of the many adventures of a young man whose fascination with witchcraft leads him to be transformed into a donkey. The bewitched Lucius passes from owner to owner - encountering a desperate gang of robbers and being forced to perform lewd 'human' tricks on stage - until the Goddess Isis finally breaks the spell and initiates Lucius into her cult. It has long been 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. Apuleius' enchanting story has inspired generations of writers such as Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats with its dazzling combination of allegory, satire, bawdiness and sheer exuberance, and The Golden Ass remains the most continuously and accessibly amusing book to have survived from Classical antiquity.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Lucius Apuleius (2nd Century AD) was a North African fubulist who Latinized the Greek myths and legends. He travelled widely, visiting Italy and Asia, where he was initiated into numerous religious mysteries. He drew on the knowledge he gained about the priestly fraternities to write the Golden Ass, which Cupid and Psyche is extracted from.
E.J. Kenney is Emeritus Kennedy Professor of Latin in the University of Cambridge. His publications include a critical edition of Ovid's amatory works. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.
From Our Editors
A classic tale combining mythological and religious imagery, Apuleius’ The Golden Ass recalls the story of Lucius, a young man whose interest in the occult and witchcraft leads him to believe that he can transform himself into a bird. In an amusing turn of events, he becomes a donkey instead. What’s more, he is then kidnapped by robbers and forced to follow them through the countryside as an animal. Fortunately, he experiences a religious epiphany, and returning to his faith allows him entry into the cult of the goddess Isis. Both dramatic and amusing, Apuleius’ myth is at its core, a discourse on the importance of adhering to faith in the face of evil and temptation.