The Book of Apollonius was first published in 1936. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
No other English translation of this famous thirteenth-century Spanish narrative poem is available, in either poetry or prose. The present translators have put it into a form that reproduces most faithfully the quaint and naïve quality of the original Libro de Apolonio, the story of which appears in Book Eight of John Gower's Confessio Amantis and in Shakespeare's Pericles.
The reader who is not a specialist in medieval or Spanish literature will find here a lush uncensored tale of mad adventure. If he will give himself up to the spell of its child-like spirit, he will find himself led on through such "faery lands forlorn" as the untrammeled imagination has immemorially loved to create. The story parades before him storms, shipwrecks, kidnappings, pirates, supposed deaths, miraculous escapes and survivals. Beginning in a theme that runs through dramatic literature from Oedipus Rex through The Cenci to The Barretts of Wimpole Street,the plot reveals the misfortunes that furiously pursue Apollonius, king of Tyre, after he tries to woo the daughter of King Antiochus away from her father. Forced to flee for his life, Apollonius plunges from adventure to adventure, until incredible reunions and transports of joy bring the tale to a conventional happy ending.
The translators' Introduction gives an account of the use of the Apollonius material in Old French, Provençal, Anglo-Saxon, German, and other literatures, as well as tracing the history of the poem from its source in a lost Greek romance.