Curiositas, Horror, and the Monstrous-Feminine in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses

Authored by: Hunter H. Gardner

Sex in Antiquity

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519410
eBook ISBN: 9781315747910
Adobe ISBN: 9781317602774

10.4324/9781315747910.ch22

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Abstract

Pleasure pursues beautiful objects—what is agreeable to look at, to hear, to smell, to taste, to touch. But curiosity (curiositas) pursues the contraries of these delights with the motive of seeing what the experiences are like, not with a wish to undergo discomfort, but out of a lust for experimenting and knowing. What pleasure is to be found in looking at a mangled corpse, an experience which evokes revulsion (quod exhorreas)? Yet wherever one is lying, people crowd around to be made sad and turn pale. … To satisfy this diseased craving, outrageous sights are staged in public shows.

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