I am trying to remember the title and author of a short story about an ape (maybe a chimp) who is given human intelligence as a result of experimentation, and subsequently feels alienated.

It takes place in the 19th century, I think. The ape narrates. Somewhat gruesomely, the scene I remember most clearly is where the ape confesses that his human colleagues rented a female monkey as a prostitute for him, and that he finds the intercourse depressing but necessary.

I faintly recall that there's something strange about the story's context; maybe it appears as a story-within-a-story, or maybe it's a parody. It may be a parable about animal testing.

Can anyone help me? This is driving me crazy.

  • 1
    Evidently not the story Liz was looking for, but Pat Murphy's Nebula Award winning "Rachel in Love" shares a number of features, and might be what future readers are looking for. Apr 26, 2016 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


This story would be A Report to an Academy by Franz Kafka.

It was published 1917 so would fit to the theme of taking place in the 19th century. The ape narrates his story in a scientific conference (hence the title). The part of the female monkey is also in there.

The only part that does not fit is, that the ape in this story gained his intelligence not by experimentation, but as a means to escape his cage. A necessity more than a desire.

  • Thank you so much! That Kafka wrote it explains my sense that there was something odd about the context of the story - what's odd is Kafka himself! Thanks again.
    – Buzz
    Apr 26, 2016 at 8:51

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