Duped by an ass
Revisiting the chronology of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
In this paper I intend to revisit the established chronology of the Metamorphoses. I will be arguing that an ellipsis of nearly a year occurs following Charite’s wedding at 7.14, a period presumed to span merely a few weeks heretofore in Apuleian studies. Prompted by this discovery, I will conduct a re-evaluation of how Lucius handles time within his narrative by comparing this ellipsis with similar instances of temporal distortion in the novel. I will conclude by claiming that this ellipsis is a version of a temporal topos familiar from Greek romance novels, which further serves to strengthen the analogies between Lucius’ initiation and the weddings of Charite and Psyche. Both the theoretical approach and terminology employed in this paper draw primarily from Gérard Genette’s Narrative Discourse (1980) and Mieke Bal’s Narratology (2009). I will be following the scholarly edition by Robertson ([1940-1945]1985-1992), but will also note any discrepancies between scholars which are relevant to my argument.