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Asinus Philosophans : Platonic Philosophy and the Prologue to Apuleius' Golden Ass

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This article offers a new interpretation of the role of philosophy in Apuleius' Golden Ass. Its main contention is that references to philosophers and philosophical texts in the novel are neither gratuitous nor are they meant to imbue the text with a deep allegorical meaning; on the contrary, they are invariably used to enhance the novel's comic effect and thus, paradoxically, serve to warn the reader against the temptation to read the novel as a straightforward philosophical allegory. Particular attention is paid to the novel's prologue, which is shown to anticipate this overall tendency.


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