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Dissertation Defense - Artemis Brod: Previous Selves - Body and Narrative in Aelius Aristides' Hieroi Logoi and Apuleius' Metamorphoses

March 8, 2016 -
1:30pm to 2:30pm
Building 110, Rm 112

This event is free and open to the public.

Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi and Apuleius’ Metamorphoses have historically achieved joint mention for their unique status as non-Christian accounts documenting a personal relationship to a god.  Brod starts with a different observation.  These texts stage an encounter with the failure or refusal of one’s own body to function in its capacity as a vehicle for self-presentation – an especially important function to orators of the second century CE.  But this is where the overlap between the earnest aretalogy and comedic fiction ends.  Whereas Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi contribute to the orator’s healing process, Apuleius’ Metamorphoses uses the imagined animal body to demonstrate the elusive nature of constituting a whole self.  Throughout his Hieroi Logoi, Aristides employs metaphors to solicit his audience’s participation in reconfiguring his relationship to his body and his god.  Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, on the other hand, dramatizes a paradox: the protagonist, Lucius, achieves his goal of literary memorialization in the form of the book we hold, and yet the self that is on display is ultimately lost to the reader. 

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Department of Classics
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