Witches, Isis and Narrative. Approches to Magic in Apuleius' 'Metamorphoses'.
Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York, 2008. XIII,255p. Hard bound. Nice copy. Series: Trends in Classics, Volume 2. 'Four out of nine chapters are revised versions of conference papers published previously. Neither these not the other five chapters seem parts of of a planned whole. Rather than a monograph, we here have a collection of individual small studies loosely revolving around a basic idea. It is a pity that this idea is never put forward in the way of a leading hypothesis. Still, from F.'s frequent recurrence to his underlying assumptions it becomes clear enough that essentially he regards the 'Metamorphoses' as a narrative about black magic, associated with withces and 'with-like' figures, versus white magic (equalling religion), associated with Isis - hence the title. (...) It may be appreciated that F. adds a further nuance to the moralistic reading of the 'Metamorphoses' by pointing us to a deep structure of magic versus religion. (...) But (...) F. does not make any effort to set the 'Metamorphoses' in the intellectual context of Apuleius' oeuvre and hist time (... ) and he turns a blind eye to this fact in his 'intratextual' hunt for narrative patters, correspondences and analogies. (...) Secondly, there is F.'s excessive use of intratextual comparisons as a methodological tool. (...) f.'s volume reminds readers of the significance of magic and religion in the 'Metamorphoses' and expands somewhat on what we know about narrative strategies in this context. To be of larger benefit it should have been more carefully thought through as a whole and should have used a broader horizon.' (STEFAN TILG in The Classical Review (New Series), 2010, 137-39). From the library of Professor Carl Deroux.