Desultoria scientia: genre in Apuleius' Metamorphoses and related texts
Desultoria scientia is the fifth volume of Caeculus and contains the proceedings of the fifth Fransum Colloquium, held on 18 May 2002. The Fransum Colloquia are meant to assist PhD-candidates in Mediterranean Archaeology and Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Groningen in the final phase of their doctoral research. The fifth colloquium was organised around the work of Wytse Keulen, who in January 2003 successfully defended his thesis Apuleius Madaurensis: Metamorphoses Book I, 1-20. Introduction, Text, Commentary. The topic chosen by Wytse Keulen was Genre in Apuleius' Metamorphoses and Related Texts. Like other ancient 'novels', the Metamorphoses of Apuleius has no clear-cut generic identity itself, but continually evokes a great number of genres from Greek and Latin literature, from the 'high' genres of tragedy and epic to 'lower' genres such as comedy and mime. Some of the genres it takes up, most notably Roman satire, were themselves already characterised by a mixing of the 'high' and 'low', so that the resulting texture is sometimes hard to disentangle; at the same time, the shifts and shocks of generic reference significantly contribute, as Apuleius programmatically announces in the prologue, to the reader's delight. In this collection, generic play in the Metamorphoses is approached from a number of diverse angles: some articles analyse individual passages, others consider specific genres, while there are also discussions of related texts such as Apuleius' oratorical works and the hybrid fictions of Lucian. No claim is made for a complete or systematic coverage of the subject; in that sense, the collection itself participates in the desultoria scientia that it studies.
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