Of donkeys and D(a)emons : Metamorphosis and the literary imagination from Apuleius to Augustine

Book chapter


Carver, Robert Henry Fielding. (2017). Of donkeys and D(a)emons : Metamorphosis and the literary imagination from Apuleius to Augustine. In In Gildenhard, Ingo and Zissos, Andrew (Ed.). Transformative Change in Western Thought: A History of Metamorphosis from Homer to Hollywood pp. 222-251 Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315084640-8
AuthorsCarver, Robert Henry Fielding
EditorsGildenhard, Ingo and Zissos, Andrew
Abstract

The grip of Ovid's Metamorphoses on the Western imagination during the last two millennia has been so strong that it is easy to underestimate the significance of Apuleius' identically titled work about a man who is transformed into a donkey following his affair with a witch's slave-girl. Notions of metamorphosis are, of course, embedded in the very building blocks of Western fiction. Apuleius quietly undercuts these reports of cosmic power by emphasizing how easily physical transformations can be achieved. Desirous of imitating Pamphile's metamorphosis into an owl, Lucius asks what would be required to reverse the process. One of the most entertaining episodes in the novel occurs shortly before the protagonist's physical transformation, when Lucius figuratively 'makes an ass of himself' through the very eloquence of his own defence at his trial for homicide during the Festival of Risus.

KeywordsTransformation; Metamorphosis; Shapeshifting; Language; Literature
Page range222-251
Year01 Jan 2017
Book titleTransformative Change in Western Thought: A History of Metamorphosis from Homer to Hollywood
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Edition1st
ISBN978-1-31-508464-0
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315084640-8
Web address (URL)https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit/10.4324/9781315084640/transformative-change-western-thought-ingo-gildenhard
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Research or scholarlyScholarly
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All rights reserved
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Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Oct 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jan 2024
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