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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the metamorphosis of humans into animals in the ancient world. It suggests that stories of metamorphosis cannot be considered as an expression of a popular ‘underground’ culture indulgent to the fantastic, wondrous, or magic, but as something that seriously engages with Greek beliefs about man and animals. It describes the different classifications of metamorphosis into animals and discusses the references to metamorphoses in different literary genres including epic, plays, and novels. This chapter also highlights the influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and argues that metamorphosis runs parallel to the history of literature, of the subject, of figurative codes, of characterization, and of humans and animals themselves.

Keywords: metamorphosis, humans into animals, ancient world, underground culture, Greek beliefs, man and animal, Ovid, Metamorphoses, history of literature

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