Apuleius' wonderful Latin novel Metamorphoses, written in the second century C.E., was for a long time neglected. In recent years some have attempted to understand the Metamorphoses by applying contemporary critical theory to the work, without notable success. In Crisis and Conversion in Apuleius' "Metamorphoses" Nancy Shumate takes a new and profitable approach: she uses an epistemologically oriented model of religious conversion to study the experiences of the novel's central character, Lucius, who is turned into an ass and back again.
Shumate draws on a wide range of literary and nonliterary representations of conversion in order to establish a useful theoretical framework. The Metamorphoses is exposed as a text anticipating later narratives in its concern with world-building, with the narrator's subjective reality, and with the invocation and critique of religious experience.
Crisis and Conversion in Apuleius' "Metamorphoses" will be of interest to classicists and scholars of Silver Latin and of the increasingly popular ancient novel, as well as to students of psychology and the sociology of religious experience.
Nancy Shumate is Associate Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures, Smith College.
If, as a child, you conducted conversations with beloved dolls, or if, as an adult, you have entered virtual worlds inhabited by digital humans who inspire devotion in real people, you have participated in one of humanity’s most potent yet least explored traditions. Falling in love (and out of love) with statues, George Hersey reveals here, has been an instrumental practice since antiquity in our efforts to understand, improve, and empower ourselves.
Hersey’s history of statue love begins in Cyprus, home of the legendary sculptor Pygmalion, who famously grew enamored of his own creation. Examining the island’s prehistoric images of Aphrodite—the love goddess who brought Pygmalion’s sculpture to life—Hersey traces the origins of statue love back to the Cypriot followers who adored her terra-cotta likenesses. He goes on to explore ideas about human replicas in the works of Empedocles, Aristotle, Lucretius, and Ovid, whose definitive account of the Pygmalion myth introduced the notion that statues have the potential to induce physical responses in their viewers. Finding avatars of Ovid’s living image in everything from pagan idols and early Christian statuary to eighteenth-century painting to modern action figures and marionettes, Hersey concludes by investigating the concern that these automata will eventually replace humans.
In the process, he narrates a powerful history of artificial life at a moment when—with the development of robot soldiers, ever more sophisticated genetic engineering, and a continually expanding digital universe—it seems more real than ever.
Barbara Pavlock unmasks major figures in Ovid’s Metamorphoses as surrogates for his narrative persona, highlighting the conflicted revisionist nature of the Metamorphoses. Although Ovid ostensibly validates traditional customs and institutions, instability is in fact a defining feature of both the core epic values and his own poetics. The Image of the Poet explores issues central to Ovid’s poetics—the status of the image, the generation of plots, repetition, opposition between refined and inflated epic style, the reliability of the narrative voice, and the interrelation of rhetoric and poetry. The work explores the constructed author and complements recent criticism focusing on the reader in the text.
Literature and Identity in The Golden Ass of Apuleius is the first English translation of a work published in 2007 as Le Metamorfosi di Apuleio: Letteratura e identità, by Luca Graverini. The second-century CE novel The Golden Ass, or Metamorphoses, has proven to be both captivating and highly entertaining to the modern reader, but the text also presents the critic with a vast array of interpretive possibilities. In fact, there is little consensus among scholars on the fundamental significance of Apuleius’ novel: is it simply a form of narrative entertainment, or does it represent some sort of religious or philosophical propaganda? Can it be interpreted as a satire of fatuous belief in otherworldly powers, or is it an utterly aporetic text?
Graverini begins by setting TheGolden Ass in its ancient literary context. Apuleius’ playful defiance of generic conventions represents a substantial literary innovation, but he is also taking part in a tradition of narrative and satirical literature that typically featured experimentation with genre.
The interplay of generic elements found in The Golden Ass reflects the complexity of the author’s cultural identity: Apuleius was a Roman North African who had traveled widely throughout the Mediterranean and enjoyed an extensive education in both Greek and Latin. Graverini concludes with a study of the complex interaction of these three dimensions of Apuleius’ identity (African, Roman, and Greek), and investigates what the narrative can tell us about the culture of its readership. These cultural interactions affirm that The Golden Ass aims to delight its readers as well as to exhort them to religion and philosophy. Ben Lee’s superb new translation will make Graverini's groundbreaking study available to a much wider scholarly readership.
Metamorphoses: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3576.I66M47 2002 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
Called by Time the "theater event of the year," Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses brings Ovid's tales to stunning visual life. Set in and around a large pool of water onstage, Metamorphoses juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image to reflect the variety and persistence of narrative in the face of inevitable change. Nominated for three 2002 Tony Awards, including "Best Play," Metamorphoses earned Zimmerman a Tony for "Best Direction of a Play."
William G. Anlyan, a dedicated doctor and gifted administrator, was a leader in the transformation of Duke University Hospital from a regional medical center into one of America’s foremost biomedical research and educational institutions. Anlyan’s fifty-five-year career at Duke University spanned a period of extraordinary change in the practice of medicine. He chronicles those transformations—and his role in them—in this forthright memoir.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1925, and schooled in the British tradition, Anlyan attended Yale University as an undergraduate and medical student before coming to the relatively unknown medical school at Duke University in 1949 for an internship in general and thoracic surgery. He stayed on, first as a resident, then as a staff surgeon. By 1961, he was a full professor of surgery. In 1964, Anlyan was named dean of the medical school, the first in a series of administrative posts at the medical school and hospital. Anlyan’s role in the transformation of the Duke University Medical Center into an internationally renowned health system is manifest: he restructured the medical school and hospital and supervised the addition of almost four million square feet of new or renovated space. He hired outstanding administrators and directed a staff that instituted innovative programs and groundbreaking research centers, such as the Cancer Center and the Physician’s Assistant Program.
Anlyan describes a series of metamorphoses in his own life, in the world of medicine, in Durham, and at Duke. At the time of his prep school upbringing in Egypt, medicine was a matter of controlling infectious diseases like tuberculosis and polio. As he became an immigrant medical student and then a young surgeon, he observed vast advances in medical practice and changes in the financing of medical care. During his tenure at Duke, Durham was transformed from a sleepy mill and tobacco town into the “City of Medicine,” a place where patients routinely travel for open-heart surgery and cutting-edge treatments for cancer and other diseases.
Anyone interested in health care, medical education, and the history of Duke University will find Anlyan’s memoir of interest.
Metamorphoses Of The Body
Jose Gil University of Minnesota Press, 1998 Library of Congress GN492.2.G5513 1998 | Dewey Decimal 306.4
Metamorphoses of the City
Pierre Manent Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HT113.M3613 2013 | Dewey Decimal 307.7609
Metamorphoses of the City is a sweeping interpretation of Europe's ambition to generate ever better forms of collective self-government, from ancient city-states and empires to a universal church and the nation-state. But the nation-state is nearing the end of its line, Pierre Manent says, and what will supplant it remains to be seen.
Étienne Gilson (1884-1978) was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy, as well as a scholar of medieval philosophy. In 1946 he attained the distinction of being elected an "Immortal" (member) of the Académie française. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1959 and 1964.
The appearance of Gilson's Metamorphosis of the City of God, which were originally delivered as lectures at the University of Louvain, Belgium, in the Spring of 1952, coincided with the first steps toward what would become the European Union. The appearance of this English translation coincides with the upheaval of Brexit. Gilson traces the various attempts of thinkers through the centuries to describe Europe's soul and delimit its parts. The Scots, Catalonians, Flemings, and probably others may nod in agreement in Gilson's observation on how odd would be a Europe composed of the political entities that existed two and a half centuries ago. Those who think the European Union has lost its soul may not be comforted by the difficulty thinkers have had over the centuries in defining that soul. Indeed the difficulties that have thus far prevented integrating Turkey into the EU confirm Gilson's description of the conundrum involved even in distinguishing Europe's material components. And yet, the endeavor has succeeded, so that the problem of shared ideals remain inescapable. One wonders which of the thinkers in the succession studied by Gilson might grasp assent and illuminate the EU's path.
Ellen D. Finkelpearl's Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius studies the use of literary allusion by the Roman author Apuleius, in his second century C.E. novel the Metamorphoses, popularly known as The Golden Ass. Apuleius' work is enticing yet frustrating because of its enigmatic mixture of the comic and serious; a young man is transformed into a donkey, but eventually finds salvation with the goddess Isis. Finkelpearl's book represents the first attempt to place Apuleius' allusive practices within a consideration of the development of the ancient novel.
When Apuleius wrote his Metamorphoses, the novel--indeed the very concept of fiction in prose--was new. This study argues that Apuleius' repeated allusions to earlier Latin authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Seneca represent an exploration on his part of the relationship between the novel and more established genres of the era. Apuleius' struggle with this tradition, Finkelpearl maintains, parallels the protagonist's move from an acceptance of the dominance of traditional forms to a sense of arrival and self- discovery.
An introductory chapter includes general discussion of the theory and practice of allusion. Finkelpearl then revisits the issues of parody in Apuleius. She also includes discussion of Apuleius' use of Vergil's Sinon, the Charite episode in relation to Apuleius' African origins, and the stepmother episode. Finally a new reading of Isis is offered, which emphasizes her associations with writing and matches the multiformity of the goddess with the novel's many voices.
This book will be of interest to scholars of literature and the origins of the novel, multiculturalism, and classical literature.
Ellen D. Finkelpearl is Associate Professor of Classics at Scripps College, Claremont, California.
Guilhem Olivier's Mockeries and Metamorphoses of an Aztec God is a masterful study of Tezcatlipoca, one of the greatest but least understood deities in the Mesoamerican pantheon.
An enigmatic and melodramatic figure, the Lord of the Smoking Mirror was both drunken seducer and mutilated transgressor and although he severely punished those who violated pre-Columbian moral codes, he also received mortal confessions. A patron deity to kings and warriors as well as a protector of slaves, Tezcatlipoca often clashed in epic confrontations with his "enemy brother" Quetzalcoatl, the famed Feathered Serpent. Yet these powers of Mesoamerican mythology collaborated to create the world, and their common attributes hint at a dual character.
In a sophisticated, systematic tour through the sources and problems related to Tezcatlipoca's protean powers and shifting meanings, Olivier guides readers through the symbolic names of this great god, from his representation on skins and stones to his relationship to ritual knives and other deities.
Drawing upon iconographic material, chronicles written in Spanish and in Nahuatl, and the rich contributions of ethnography, Mockeries and Metamorphoses of an Aztec God - like the mirror of Tezcatlipoca in which the fates of mortals were reflected - reveals an important but obscured portion of the cosmology of pre-Columbian Mexico.
The epic Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most renowned work, has regained its stature among the masterpieces of great poets such as Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus. Yet its irreverent tone and bold defiance of generic boundaries set the Metamorphoses apart from its contemporaries. Ovid before Exile provides a compelling new reading of the epic, examining the text in light of circumstances surrounding the final years of Augustus’ reign, a time when a culture of poets and patrons was in sharp decline, discouraging and even endangering artistic freedom of expression.
Patricia J. Johnson demonstrates how the production of art—specifically poetry—changed dramatically during the reign of Augustus. By Ovid’s final decade in Rome, the atmosphere for artistic work had transformed, leading to a drop in poetic production of quality. Johnson shows how Ovid, in the episodes of artistic creation that anchor his Metamorphoses, responded to his audience and commented on artistic circumstances in Rome.
Ovid’s Causes offers a new reassessment of the poet’s longest and most difficult poem, the Metamorphoses. This poem has long been denied epic stature because of its stylistic and thematic diversity. K. Sara Myers demonstrates that the poem must be understood as the inheritor and interpreter of the Roman tradition of cosmological epic. She situates the poem in the traditions and conventions of Roman poetry and considers the ways in which it both fulfills and overturns the expectations of the epic genre.
The first and final chapters of this book examine the scientific and cosmological framework of the poem. Ovid’s juxtaposition of scientific and mythological explanations is an aspect of his sophisticated manipulation of truth and fiction, and of the claims of philosophical poetry and mythological poetry.
This illuminating study presents much useful material for students of Roman poetry or of Greek literary influences that profoundly influenced its development. Students and scholars of ancient poetical traditions will likewise find much of interest.
Although repetition is found in all ancient literary genres, it is especially pervasive in epic poetry. Ovid’s Metamorphoses exploits this dimension of the epic genre to a great extent; past critics have faulted it as too filled with recycled themes and language. This volume seeks a deeper understanding of Ovidian repetitiveness in the context of new scholarship on intertextuality and intratextuality, examining the purposeful reuse of previous material and the effects produced by a text’s repetitive gestures.
A shared vision of the possibilities of Latin epic poetry unites the essays, as does a series of attempts to realize those opportunities. Some of the pieces represent a traditional vein of allusion and intertextuality; others are more innovative in their approaches. Each, in a sense, stands as a placeholder for a methodology of theorizing the repetitive practices of poetry, of epic, and of Ovid in particular.
Contributors: Antony Augoustakis, Neil W. Bernstein, Barbara Weiden Boyd, Andrew Feldherr, Peter Heslin, Stephen Hinds, Sharon L. James, Alison Keith, Peter E. Knox, Darcy Krasne