One of the print versions of our current Apuleius read is the Oxford World Classics edition of The Golden Ass, translation and introduction by P.G. Walsh.
Items Walsh brings up in the excellent introduction, worth a consideration in our upcoming chat:
- Did Apuleius intend the romance to be merely ribald entertainment or did he shape it into a fable, a story with moral? Walsh discussed this through several sub-chapters and comes to the conclusion that it is both, but also cites contrary voices. (He has convinced me though.)
- Plutarch's influence, namely with his Isis and Osiris (De Isidre et Osiride) and Discourse Concerning Socrates’s Daemon (De genio Socratis), as well as Of Curiosity, Or an Over-busy Inquisitiveness Into Things Impertinent (De curiositate).
- What Walsh calls the "literary texture": The modern non-academic reader looses out to the ancient ones due to the "Roman system of mandarin education," where a – albeit limited – segment of educated readers understood Apuleius' literary allusions and parodies, and what Walsh calls "burlesques." Thus, I think, one misses out on a certain enjoyment. Walsh endnotes a number of those and also provides a list in the introduction proper: Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, Plutarch, Seneca, Sallust, Livy.
On the other hand, ignoring of course comic hyperbole, the modern reader gets a firsthand idea about many aspects of life in Ancient Rome.
Apuleius APOLOGIA, English & Latin.