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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   100 Greatest Novels Lists (& the 5th best Russian Novel) (153 comments)

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  •  What about "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius of (7+ / 0-)

    Madaura?  This book has been translated by many people over the centuries but I like the Robert Graves translation for its fresh, almost contemporary-sounding "voice."

    Apuleius was contemporary with that old prig, Augustine of Hippo--he who prayed, "Oh, God, please give me the gift of chastity, but...not yet."

    The Golden Ass, also known as The Transformations of Lucius, tells what happened to a young man when a spell went wrong and instead of being transformed into an eagle, as he requested, he was transformed instead to a donkey!

    In this guise he wandered the whole of Greece, experiencing many adventures--some quite unseemly.  In the end he takes part in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which to this day remain a secret.  No one knows exactly what happened during these rituals, but it was profound and life-changing.

    The whole book is an allegory, in fact it's a religious novel.  I used to scream with laughter when I read it as a teenager and went around urging my friends to read it.  Some of them did and were never the same afterwards.

    I used this book in a term paper, "How Some of the Ancient Classics Foreshadowed the Modern Novel" for my English class in my senior year of high school.

    Many thanks for this fun diary, Brecht!  Looking forward to the next one!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:19:24 AM PDT

    •  'The Golden Ass' is often mentioned as a Novel (4+ / 0-)

      from before the age of Novels.

      You make it sound like a much more enjoyable read than I'd realized. And I enjoy Graves' writing. I'd walk a few miles, to get a book that would make me laugh out loud several times.

      Speaking of, as soon as I finish this coffee, I should go walk along Venice Beach. I've been sucked into this diary for most of the last 24 hours. It's good, though - I'm very happy when I can get some thoughtful book conversations going.

      I hope you're having a pleasant weekend, Diana in NoVa.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 01:50:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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