Apuleius Reader, An
Selections from the Metamorphoses
By Ellen Finkelpearl
Read less than it deserves at the undergraduate level, Apuleius’ Metamorphoses tells the story of Lucius the ass-man and his encounters with sex, magic, robbers, storytellers, slaves, and finally the Goddess. From the cruel mockery of the Festival of Laughter to the sweet tale of Cupid and Psyche, from adventures that question human-animal boundaries to the profoundly spiritual conclusion, Apuleius constantly mingles the serious and comic, the bizarre and surreal with the quotidian details of ancient life.
The selections in this Reader are designed both to represent the variety characteristic of the Metamorphoses and to create a coherent narrative of the life and trials of Lucius (and Psyche). Attention is also given to the cultural milieu of its author (second century CE Roman North Africa).
Ellen Finkelpearl is Professor of Classics at Scripps College. She is the author of Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius: A Study of Allusion in the Novel (University of Michigan, 1998), A Survey of Scholarship on Apuleius’ Metamorphoses (with Carl Schlam; Lustrum, 2000), and numerous articles, mostly on Apuleius.
- Introduction to Apuleius’ life and works, and to the Metamorphoses’ background, interpretation, and style
- 660 lines of unadapted Latin text selected from Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, BOOK 1: 1.1.1–1.2.1 • BOOK 2: 2.1.1–2.2.1; 2.6–7 • BOOK 3: 3.1.1–3.2.5, 3.2.7–9, 3.8.1–4, 3.9.5–3.11.6; 3.21.1–3.22.5; 3.24–26 • BOOK 4: 4.4–5; 4.28.1–4.30.3 • BOOK 5: 5.11.3–4; 5.22–23 • BOOK 6: 6.20–21; 6.23.5–6.24.4 • BOOK 9: 9.12.2–9.13.5 • BOOK 10: 10.16.7–10.17.6 • BOOK 11: 11.1–2; 11.5.1; 11.5.3–4; 11.13; 11.15.1–3; 11.27.9; 11.30.3–5.
- Notes at the back and complete vocabulary
- One map and four illustrations
Comments and Reviews
Apuleius (c. 125 - c. 180) was a Latin prose writer. A Numidian Berber from Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria). Apuleius studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; traveled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his life was when he was accused of using magic to gain the attentions (and fortune) of a wealthy widow. He declaimed and then distributed a witty tour de force in his own defense before the proconsul and a court of magistrates convened in Sabratha, near Tripoli. This is known as the Apologia. His most famous work is his bawdy picaresque novel, the Metamorphoses, otherwise known as The Golden Ass. It is the only Latin novel that has survived in its entirety. It relates the ludicrous adventures of one Lucius, who experiments with magic and is accidentally turned into a donkey. An Apuleius Reader: Selections from the Metamorphoses by Ellen D. Finkelpearl (Professor of Classics at Scripps College, Claremont, California) is a 160 page compendium comprised of selections of the writings of Apuleius (including 660 unadapted lines from Metamorphoses) and specifically designed to aid students in their study of the Latin language by the provision of extensive notations, a vocabulary, a map, and four illustrations. An Apuleius Reader is a highly recommended contribution to the growing library of Latin language curriculum instruction materials and an ideal acquisition for personal and academic library reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
— James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
The Midwest Book Review