Research interests

My main research subjects are the ancient Greek and Latin novels, and especially Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. On these I have published several volumes; the first one has already been translated into English (Literature and Identity in Apuleius’ Golden Ass, Ohio State University Press 2012), and Wiley-Blackwell will publish a translation of the second (Il romanzo antico. Forme, testi, problemi, with Wytse Keulen and Sandro Barchiesi, Carocci 2006), by Thomas McCreight. With Marcos Carmignani and Benjamin Todd Lee I have edited Collected Studies on the Roman Novel. Ensayos sobre la novela romana, Córdoba (Argentina): Editorial Brujas 2013; with Benjamin Todd Lee and Ellen Finkelpearl, Apuleius and Africa, New York-London: Routledge 2014.

My most recent research focuses on Apuleius’ cultural identity, whose ‘provincial’ component I emphasize against those who place his literary activity and his audience within the narrow limits of the city of Rome; and on the genre-markers that define the ancient novel and connect the Metamorphoses with Greek narrative literature.

Other recent studies investigate the general themes that characterize the ancient Greek and Latin novel and its features, like astonishment and other emotions, love, truth and fiction, orality and writtenness, the strong link between serious and comic intentions, the religious and philosophical background, characterization. In this field, ‘sophistic’ novelists like Apuleius, Longus, Achilles Tatius, and Heliodorus are of special interest.

In other papers, published and forthcoming, I approach diverse subjects: Maecenas and his patronage of poets; Lucius Mummius, the destruction of Corinth in 146 BC, and its consequences on Roman culture; Horace’s Satire 2.6 in connection with Vergil’s Eclogues and Callimachus’ Aetia; a Pompeian poetic inscription influenced by Ovid and almost certainly composed by a woman; the evolution of the literary descriptions of Calypso’s and Circe’s emotions through time and in various literary genres.

My ongoing projects include a four-volume commentary on Apuleius’ novel for the Italian Valla-Mondadori publisher, by an international team of scholars led by me and Alessandro Barchiesi. I am also planning a study on “Narrating Emotions: control strategies and emotional responses in ancient narrative”, that will bring together prose and verse narrative.

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