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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transformation as disease, reincorporation as cure : a comparative case-study of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses & C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy Hartman, Midori E.


This dissertation analyzes the reception of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses in C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy through a case-study of the asinine transformations of Apuleius’ protagonist, Lucius, and Lewis’ antagonist, Prince Rabadash. Lewis’ use of Apuleius’ work as a model has been established in scholarship, specifically in his reworking of the Cupid and Psyche tale in Till We Have Faces (1956). This dissertation will analyze the elements of congruity between the tales of Lucius and Rabadash, namely: (1) the disregard of a superior’s warnings (Byrrhena, Aslan); (2) the “sin” of a personal lack of control (curiositas, pride) that leads to asinine metamorphosis; and (3) the reversal of metamorphosis through public religious ritual, thus resulting in a re-establishment in society with a new status (priesthood or eternal connection to the temple/deity). Medical anthropological models, specifically the health care systems and explanatory models (Kleinman: 1980), and the cultural anthropological model of the rites of passage (van Gennep: 1969) elucidate Lucius’ experiences within the context of Apuleius’ social world (2nd century A.D.) and Rabadash’s within the fictional world of Narnia. This dissertation seeks to broaden scholarship on classical reception in C.S. Lewis’ work, and add further insight into the studies of Apuleius through the use of social scientific criticism.

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