|Title||:||The Metamorphoses, Book 1|
|Number of Pages||:||128 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Metamorphoses, Book 1 Reviews
Okay, so I’ve only read book one (of twelve), and it took me a good six weeks just to get that far, but The Golden Ass has already moved to the top of my personal canon of Roman literature, right up there with the Satyricon. Sure, Cicero and Virgil and those guys are just fine if you want the official, senatorial view of things, but they’re basically state writers; they always seem to be posing for their statues. To get a sense of how the Romans ate, talked and screwed – or better still, what they talked about when they screwed – you have to go to the novelists. Unfortunately, Apuleius is the only one of these to have come down to us intact. Yet he’s such a polished stylist, his handling of narrative is so assured (check out the nested frame stories in Book One), that you get the impression he was working within an established novelistic tradition. You have to wonder, then, how much other great Roman fiction never made it out of the Middle Ages – wonder, and weep. It's as if some future civilization should know nothing of the English novel save Tom Jones and a few fragments of Ulysses. One final point: the Penguin translation by Robert Graves gives a very misleading impression of Apuleius. The Latin original is written in a flashy, sophisticated idiolect. Parallels are silly, but try to imagine a Roman Nabokov. Graves puts this punning, euphonious prose into flat translator's English, arguing that 'the effect of oddness is best achieved in convulsed times like the present by writing in as easy and sedate an English as possible.' An ingenious rationalization, but I suspect Graves is making a virtue of his necessity here. I haven't looked into any other modern translations, but there must be more accurate ones available.
Pretty easy to pick up and read with limited Latin knowledge since the notes and vocab in the back are quite extensive.