Vigilans somniabar and Nec fuit nox una: a study of the dream as a narrative device in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius Madaurensis Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Carlisle, David Paul Christian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • In the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, dreams, however bizarre, seem to have real significance for the waking world. The exact relationship of dreams to waking reality, however, is made ambiguous. Apuleius is thus able to present the most extraordinary event of all, the revelation of Isis and Lucius' conversion to her religion, in such a way that the narrative is protected from disbelief: since it is entirely directed and confirmed by a series of dreams, the possibility is left of interpreting it as a real event or as a fantasy. Two important effects result: 1) any reader's incredulity, which is inevitable, is directed towards the authority of dreams, rather than the authority of the narrator; 2) the suggestion is made that the story (especially since stories are closely related to dreams in this novel), no matter its relation to the real world, may still have real counsel for the reader.
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  • Riess, Werner
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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