Metamorphosis and Conversion: Apuleius’s Metamorphoses

"Metamorphosis and Conversion: Apuleius's Metamorphoses." In Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern: Essays in Honor of David Grene, edited by Todd Breyfogle, 155-176. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Reprinted in The Archaeology of the Soul, 2012.


In a book called Transformations, which we learn is a “Greekish tale” (fibula Graecanica) told by an educated Greek in poor Latin, the two biggest surprises are the almost simultaneous revelations that the narrator is the North African author and a convert to the religion of Isis. Any interpretation must focus from the start on the apparently superfluous eleventh book: how to corporeal transformations end up in a spiritual turnaround that involves the representation of fiction as autobiography?