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This is the first in-depth study of Apuleius' Metamorphoses to juxtapose the different attitudes towards magic adopted by Lucius and other characters, either in embedded tales or in the main plot, as a key to deciphering the complex dynamics of the work. The contextualized approach pursued in this study further suggests that the novel's final book may be read as a second Metamorphoses, rewritten from a positive perspective. The book breaks new ground by examining the narrative structure of the Metamorphoses against the background of the typical plotline found in the ideal romance.