This volume reveals how Apuleius' Metamorphoses - the only fully extant Roman novel and a classic of world literature - works as a piece of literature, exploring its poetics and the way in which questions of production and reception are reflected in its text. Providing a roughly linear reading of key passages, the volume develops an original idea of Apuleius as an ambitious writer led by the literary tradition, rhetoric, and Platonism, and argues that he created what we could call a seriocomic 'philosophical novel' avant la lettre. The author focuses, in particular, on the ways in which Apuleius drew attention to his achievement and introduced the Greek ass story to Roman literature. Thus, the volume also sheds new light on the forms and the literary and intellectual potential of the genre of the ancient novel.
Preface ; Abbreviations ; Note to the Reader ; 1. The Model: Religious Metamorphoseis? ; 2. The Prologue: Loukios Goes to Rome ; 3. A Poetics in Tales: Milesian, Neoteric, Odyssean ; 4. A Philosophical Novel: Platonic Fiction ; 5. The Isis Book: Serious Entertainment ; 6. The Epilogue: Autobiography and Author's Biography ; 7. Is This the End? Closure and Playfulness in the Last Sentence ; 8. Summary ; References ; Index