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Lucius or a New Io

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On the Plot Shaping Technique in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses

image of Mnemosyne

In Metamorphoses Apuleius used a highly exquisite technique of literary casting. This technique implies exploitation of different literary models or molds, both Greek and Roman, which help to hold the novel together on various levels. The story of Io the cow in its dramatic, tragic version (Prometheus Bound and Suppliant Women) has been chosen as one of the basic molds. Io’s story was exploited by Apuleius for shaping both the ‘inset’ plot about the adventures of Psyche and the main, principal plot—the one about the adventures of Lucius. More than that: the close association between Io and Isis in the Roman tradition provides an important link between the first ten books and the final one. We may consider Io’s story not only as the plot-forming matrix that links together ten books of the novel with its 11th, concluding book, but also as the solid foundation of the unity of the entire novel.

Affiliations: 1: Russian State University for the Humanities, Dept. of Classical Philology, Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies Moscow


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