The Ancient Novel? Magic, Myth, and Metamorphosis is unfortunately unavailable

Thankfully we have 12 other Lecture Classes for you to choose from. Check our top choices below or see all classes for more options.

The Incredible Women of the Bible

92nd Street Y

Rabbi Samantha Frank’s The Incredible Women of the Bible The women of the Bible are complex, crafty, and sometimes mysterious. Together, we’ll explore a few of their stories and consider what lessons we can learn for our lives today. Come with a sense of open inquiry! No prior Jewish study required — all genders welcome.

Monday Jun 5th, 1–2:15pm Eastern Time

Queering Fanon: Colonialism, Gender, and Sexuality

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

The writings of Martiniquean-born psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon have been central to many treatments of the problem of decolonization, whether approached through anti-colonial liberation, or through his related analysis of psychological racialization. Fanon’s formation in psychoanalysis, his political critique of mental illness and his approach to the practice of psychiatry—as well as his creative interpellation of Freudian ideas...

Monday Jun 5th, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

 (4 sessions)


4 sessions

Bollywood: Art, Culture, and Hegemony

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

The largest film industry in the world is located not in Hollywood but in “Bollywood,” its yearly film output nearly doubling that of the United States. As it increasingly encroaches on the Western cultural imaginary, Bollywood plays an already titanic role in India—as a site of creative ferment, economic power, and nationalist and ideological myth-making. If Bollywood once emphasized Indian cultural pluralism, today Indian national cinema...

Monday Jun 5th, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

 (4 sessions)


4 sessions

Georg Lukács: Consciousness and Revolution

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Written at the crest of the revolutionary wave sparked by the cataclysm of World War I and the 1917 Russian Revolution, Georg Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness stands as one of the most influential Marxist texts of the 20th century. Though suffused with the revolutionary spirit of its time, History and Class Consciousness nevertheless attempts to take stock of the failure of revolutions in Germany (both in Berlin and...

Wednesday Jun 7th, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

 (4 sessions)


4 sessions

Feminist Economics: An Introduction

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Traditional economic thinking posits a frictionless universe of rational actors, profit-pursuing firms, and the harmonious equilibrium of supply and demand. What’s lost in this sanitized picture of economy is any recognition of the hierarchies that not only shape economic behavior and opportunity, but also, at the root, make capitalist economy exploitative and unequal—chief among these, gender relations. Often falling upon women are the tasks...

Wednesday Jun 7th, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

 (4 sessions)


4 sessions

See all Lecture classes Online
Questions about this class?
Get help now from an expert!

The Ancient Novel? Magic, Myth, and Metamorphosis

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Course Details
Start Date:

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
If you're enrolled in an upcoming date, this simply means that date has now sold out.

Online Classroom
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
System Requirements:

You will need a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer or device with which you can access your virtual class. We recommend you arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to ensure you're able to set up your device and connection.

Class Delivery:

Classes will be held via Zoom.

Teacher: Bruce King

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

Is the novel an intrinsically modern form? Are prose works like SatyriconDaphnis and Chloe, and The Golden Ass actually ancient novels? These narratives of ancient Greece and Rome offer a kaleidoscopic array of fictions: pastoral tales of erotic exploration; fierce satires of urban life and aristocratic rapacity; fantastical accounts of metamorphosis, abjection, and (maybe) redemption. With their mix of pirates and brigands, magic spells and witches, raunchy sex, divine visitations, mythological fantasias, and riffs on the philosophical tradition, the ancient novel obliterates any easy definition of genre, even as its narrative pleasures redouble. How can we understand the techniques, strategies, and motivations of the ancient novel—a literary object on the one hand formally familiar, on the other, deeply strange? What social conditions gave rise or impetus to narrative prose-writing, despite the available forms of poetry, dialogue, and drama? What subjectivities did ancient novels express—or invent? What does it mean to call them novels, at all? 

In this course, we will read and discuss the three of the most popular fictions of Greek and Latin literature, as we think through questions of genre, social context, and the commensurability, or incommensurability, of the Ancient and the Modern. We’ll begin with Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, which recounts the erotic education of its hero and heroine, while provoking questions about the relation of nature and art, and of nature and gender: is sex ever simply “natural”? Next, we’ll turn to Apuleius’ The Golden Ass (or Metamorphoses), a proto-picaresque account of its hero’s literal and metaphoric journeys from human to animal to priest of Isis. Finally, we’ll read Petronius’ Satyricon, which brings to the fore the life of the lower classes of Rome, while turning its coruscating, ribald, and critical eye upon the corruptions of the city and of the rich and powerful. All three of our novels have had especially productive and varied reception histories, as sources and touchstones for, amongst others, Shakespeare, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Goethe, Oscar Wilde, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T.S. Eliot. Freed from the constraints of myth and of history, the ancient novel delights in its own powers of invention, in the making of its own extravagant fictions. As we read Daphnis and ChloeThe Golden Ass, and Satyricon, we will ask: what were, and are, the uses of these fictions—as rewritings of myth and philosophy, as educational narratives, as social critique, and as the invention of new worlds?

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
  • Upon request, we will refund less 5% cancellation fee of a course up until 6 business days before its start date.
  • Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to 75% refund or full course credit.
  • After the first class: 50% refund or 75% course credit.
  • No refunds or credits will be given after the second class.
Start Dates (0)
Save to WishList
Similar Classes

Benefits of Booking Through CourseHorse

Booking is safe. When you book with us your details are protected by a secure connection.
Lowest price guaranteed. Classes on CourseHorse are never marked up.
This class will earn you 3150 points. Points give you money off your next class!
Questions about this class?
Get help now from an expert!
Questions & Answers (0)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (28)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

Read more about Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

CourseHorse Approved

This school has been carefully vetted by CourseHorse and is a verified Online educator.

Want to take this class?

Save to Wish List
Booking this class for a group? Find great private group events here