The Academical Ass: Apuleius and the Northern Renaissance

Robert H. F. Carver

in The Protean Ass

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199217861
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712357 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

The Academical Ass: Apuleius and the Northern Renaissance

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This chapter explores Apuleian influences in the Renaissance. It is argued that controversy was the common denominator of Apuleian influences in the Renaissance. Platonists used Apuleius in their struggle with the Aristotelians; he became a focal point in the bitter debates over Latin prose-style; and he was featured prominently in discussions of the function and value of fiction. The debate over imitative models was no frigid academic exercise — it was a battle to establish the very fabric of intellectual discourse, spoken as well as written. Language is fundamental to thought; style is inextricably linked with character; and Apuleianism was regarded as much as amoral and political threat as an aesthetic one. The decline in Latinity that produced Apuleius is linked by the polemicists with the decay of classical civilization itself; and the contemporary threat to Ciceronian orthodoxy posed by the resurgence of Apuleianism is made analogous.

Keywords: Apuleian influence; Renaissance; intellectual discourse; Latin prose fiction

Chapter.  30161 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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