Niccolo Machiavelli, L'asino d'oro [The Golden Ass]

Alessia Palanti (Columbia University)
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Between 1514 and 1517, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) composed The Golden Ass (L’asino d’oro), an eight-chapter satirical poem in terza rima that mimics (or, perhaps, mocks) the structure of Dante’s Divine Comedy and is inspired by—if not a direct parody of—The Metamorphosis (La metamorfosi), also commonly referred to as The Golden Ass, by the classical Latin prose writer Apuleius (125-170). Apuleius’s protagonist, characterized by curiositas and a fascination for magic, is turned into a donkey in a failed attempt at performing a spell, and after a long journey finds salvation and recovers his human form with the help of the goddess Isis. In Machiavelli’s refashioning, the anonymous protagonist narrates his vicissitudes in Circe’s realm after his escape from Florence…

1572 words

Citation: Palanti, Alessia. "L'asino d'oro". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 September 2018 [, accessed 04 December 2023.]

34870 L'asino d'oro 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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