By Ahuvia Kahane, Andrew Laird
The Prologue of Apuleius' leading edge novel, the Metamorphoses (or Golden Ass), has captivated readers and students from the Renaissance to the current day. This quantity incorporates a new textual content and translation of the Prologue and quite a lot of essays which spotlight its significance for college students of Classical literature and sleek literary idea.
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Extra info for A Companion to the Prologue to Apuleius' Metamorphoses
Nine is the square of three. Adding one for the unity of the Trinity gives ten, considered a “perfect” number in medieval thinking. One hundred is the square of ten. Dante, writing of God, perfection, and the ideal unity of the universe, structures his poem around these numbers. This may seem like an elaborate, artificial game to you, but it wasn’t for Dante. These numbers had mystical significance. And because Dante was writing about God’s complex design, he wanted to make his poem have an appropriately complex design to match.
One explanation for this is that Dante used his language and style as another way of organizing his work, to guide the reader through. Dante’s mixed styles reflect the truth he is trying to present. Dante saw a connection between the mundane, street world and the elevated, spiritual world. Dante the pilgrim has to travel through the murky, disgusting depths of Hell before he can reach Heaven; so too the reader must work his or her way through physical images of sin and punishment before he or she can reach a theoretical understanding of sin’s nature and the divine order that gives each his eternal place.
Some think that the animals represent the three kinds of sin: the leopard representing the sins of incontinence, the lion the sins of violence, and the she-wolf the sins of fraud. Still other critics think that the beasts represent the sins of pleasure, ambition, and greed, respectively. Others see the beasts as symbolic of the forces at work in the political world of Dante: the leopard representing Florentine politics, the lion representing the French desire to rule in Italy, and the she-wolf representing the Papacy and its involvement in political affairs.
A Companion to the Prologue to Apuleius' Metamorphoses by Ahuvia Kahane, Andrew Laird