n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Bestial or human lusts? The representation of the matron and her sexuality in Apuleius, 10.19.3-22.5

Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The bestiality episode in Apuleius' (10.19.3-22.5) is unique in extant Latin literature and has generated interest among scholars as to why Apuleius included it. These studies have centred on the main character, Lucius, and the relationship between this episode and the broader theme of animal/human duality throughout the novel. However, the function of the woman in the episode has tended to be subsumed into these discussions. The question of whether or not the woman of the bestiality episode is exercising bestial or human lusts is important in interpreting the women in the novel in general. She therefore needs a study devoted to her and the representation of her sexuality. This study will show that, in her case, her lust for an ass is human rather than bestial, and this illustrates the wider issues in the novel concerning the insatiability of female sexual nature and the dangers (from the male point of view) of female control over their own sexuality.

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