This article examines the institutional trajectory and theoretical legacy of Jean Ricardou. I begin by observing the reactions to the news of Ricardou’s death in 2016, both in the public press and in elegiac texts that circulated online. I then turn to Ricardou’s institutional transformation from theoretical leading man in the sixties to background figure as conseiller at the CCIC from the eighties onwards. In the second part, I exhibit the fundamental aspects of Ricardou’s theory and make a distinction between his pre- and post-textique work. I conclude by arguing for a reconsideration of Ricardou’s work in light of the current development of writing workshops in France. To conjure up both his trajectory as a public intellectual and his theoretical premises, I use Ricardou’s own metaphor of the theater of metamorphoses.