Metamorphoses and other worlds

Metamorphosis is not limited to shape-shifting but always connected to a soul, a spirit or an identity which are not regarded as stable or singular anymore. Of course there is still the antique notion of metamorphosis as something inflicted by gods, the surprising interruption of a natural development and the organic process of life which are as such interesting. But what about transformations that are induced by the environment?
Stories about metamorphoses are often found in places of temporal, geographic and mental crossings, vivid exchange and places of cultural variety and communication. Rich areas were the mediterranean in the antique and their reinterpretation in the renaissance as well as the carribean with its crossover of American cultures, European conquerors and the African diaspora with their spiritual and magical tradition – a fertile arena for mutation and shape-changing swaps.
Nevertheless Marina Warner surprised me by bringing up a lot of examples found in gothic fiction: Bodysplitting, Doppelgänger and most noteably the zombie. She sees the zombie as an ultimate transformation and reaction to secularisation and an extension of an empirical spirit as a new psychic constellation, based on observation, control and non-interference.

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