Apuleius and Africa
Edited by Benjamin Todd Lee, Ellen Finkelpearl, Luca Graverini
Routledge – 2014 – 344 pages
The Metamorphoses or Golden Ass of Apuleius (ca. 170 CE) is a Latin novel written by a native of Madauros in Roman North Africa, roughly equal to modern Tunisia together with parts of Libya and Algeria. Apuleius’ novel is based on the model of a lost Greek novel; it narrates the adventures of a Greek character with a Roman name who spends the bulk of the novel transformed into an animal, traveling from Greece to Rome only to end his adventures in the capital city of the empire as a priest of the Egyptian goddess Isis. Apuleius’ Florida and Apology deal more explicitly with the African provenance and character of their author while also demonstrating his complex interaction with Greek, Roman, and local cultures. Apuleius’ philosophical works raise other questions about Greek vs. African and Roman cultural identity.
Apuleius in Africa addresses the problem of this intricate complex of different identities and its connection to Apuleius’ literary production. It especially emphasizes Apuleius’ African heritage, a heritage that has for the most part been either downplayed or even deplored by previous scholarship. The contributors include philologists, historians, and experts in material culture; among them are some of the most respected scholars in their fields. The chapters give due attention to all elements of Apuleius’ oeuvre, and break new ground both on the interpretation of Apuleius’ literary production and on the culture of the Roman Empire in the second century. The volume also includes a modern, sub-Saharan contribution in which "Africa" mainly means Mediterranean Africa.
"With its original approach to the texts, this book once again proves that omnia iam vulgata does not apply to the study of the person Apuleius and his works. Carefully avoiding the pitfalls of mere "trendiness" by keeping the texts themselves as their anchor, the various authors prove that modern research into colonialism and post-colonialism may indeed throw fresh light on the study of a second-century Latin author living and working at the edges of the Roman Empire." – Maaike Zimmerman, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Introduction Part I: Historical Contexts 1.Apuleius’ Apology: Text and Context Keith Bradley 2. Authority and Subjectivity in the Apology Carlos F. Noreña 3. How Apuleius Survived: The African Connection Julia Haig Gaisser 4. Apuleius and the Classical Canon Joseph Farrell Part II: Cultural Contexts 5. Apuleius and Africitas Silvia Mattiacci 6. The Negotiation of Provincial Identity through Literature: Apuleius and Vergil Luca Graverini 7. Fronto and Apuleius: Two African Careers in the Roman Empire Wytse Keulen 8. "Identity" and "Identification" in Apuleius’ Apologia, Florida and Metamorphoses David L. Stone 9. Libyca Psyche: Apuleius’ Narrative and Berber Folktales Emmanuel and Nedjima Plantade Part III: Theoretical Approaches 10. Apuleius and Afroasiatic Poetics Daniel L. Selden 11. Procul a nobis: Apuleius and India Sonia Sabnis 12. Prosthetic Origins: Apuleius the Afro-Platonist Richard Fletcher 13. A Sociological Reading of A.V. ("Africae Viri"): Apuleius and the Logic of Post-Colonialism Benjamin Todd Lee
Benjamin Todd Lee is Associate Professor of Classics at Oberlin College, USA.
Ellen Finkelpearl is Helen Chandler Garland Professor of Ancient Studies and Professor of Classics at Scripps College, USA.
Luca Graverini is ‘Ricercatore’ of Latin Literature in the Department of Philology at the University of Siena, Italy.