Since Ovid, the concept of metamorphosis has been an irresistible temptation for writers, not only as a metaphor for shifting personal identity but as a way of exploring ideas of cultural and political transition. The essays in this volume show how authors from Ovid, Chaucer, and Shakespeare to Thomas Mann, Karen Blixen, and 20th-century science fiction writers, have used this pervasive concept to raise fundamental questions about the nature and agency of radical change. Among the broad topics addressed are how shifts in scientific understanding intersect with and even effect transformations in literary expression; the differing values attached to the language of metamorphosis over time; and the connection between these values and structures of power, particularly gender relations. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Darko Suvin, Alessandro Perutelli, Elsa Linguanti, Douglas Burnham, Enrico Giaccherini, Lia Pacinotti, Michael St John, Rocco Coronato, Silvia Bruti, Elisabetta Cori, Judith Rorai Milanesi, Catherine Burgass, Luca Biagiotti, Stefania Magnoni, Daniel Weavis, Julian North, Ashley Chantler, Martin Halliwell, Patrick Quinn, Roberta Ferrari, Silvia Bigliazzi, and Nicoletta Caputo.
Contents: Introduction: De hereditate Proei: ways of metamorphoses, George Ferzoco and Miriam Gill. Part 1 Beginning Metamorphoses: Some thoughts on metamorphoses: an interview with Darko Suvin, Carla Dente and Darko Suvin; Remembrance of forms lost, Alessandro Perutelli. Part 2 Back to the Future: Metamorphosis, Science and Science Fiction: At the intersection of physics and literature, Elsa Linguanti; Time as chaos: Nietzsche and Mann in the mountains, Douglas Burnham; Metamorphosis, science fiction and the dissolution of the self, Enrico Giaccherini; Spider Rose's metamorphosis: a consolatory nihilism, Lia Pacinotti. Part 3 Changing Discourse: The Language of Metamorphosis: Alchemy and the metamorphosis of history in Chaucer's House of Fame, Michael St John; The emergence of priapism in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Rocco Coronato; Falstaff's kaleidoscopic conditionals, Silvia Bruti; From incest to theophany: metamorphosis under the aegis of patriarchy in Pericles, Elisabetta Cori. Part 4 The changing self: metamorphic identities and roles: A whirlpool of change: metamorphosis and identity politics in Karen Blixen's 'The Monkey', Judith Rorai; Small change? Literary metamorphosis in Ovid and Angela Carter, Catherine Burgass; The war of the pamphlets: Joseph Swetnam and the identity of early modern woman, Stefania Magnoni; The impressionable world: Henry James, impressionism and the creative consciousness, Daniel Weavis; 'I change, but I cannot die': the metamorphoses of P.B. Shelley, Julian North; Angelic metamorphoses: metaphysics in Eastern Europe, Ashley Chantler. Part 5 From There to Here: Metamorphosis and Intertextuality: Mephisto and the magician: Klaus Mann, myth and Nazi Germany, Martin Halliwell; The erosion of sexual power in the Femme Fatale: D'Annunzio transforms Swinburne, Patrick Quinn; (Textual) metamorphoses in the fiction of Antonio Tabucchi: the 'hallucination' of Requiem, Marina Spunta; A portrait of Quixote as a young woman: Charlotte Lennox's