Apuleius Parrots the Poets: Anti-Authoritarian Intertextuality in Florida 12
AuthorMcMath, Thomas Oliver
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis examines the rich, intertextual tradition behind Apuleius’ Florida 12, focusing on the passage’s relationships with Pliny’s Naturalis Historia 10.58, Ovid’s Amores 2.6, and Statius’ Silvae 2.4. The psittacus (parrot) of Florida 12 is compared to the psittaci of these three models in order to elucidate Apuleius’ employment of intertext and allusion to critique the control of artistic production. Through Plinian intertext, Apuleius presents this selection of his speech as an encyclopedic exposition of the parrot’s characteristics. Under the cover of scientific exposition, Apuleius then employs Ovidian and Statian intertext to develop an underlying critique of authority as it impacts artistic production. These intertextual comparanda were selected due to their similarity in content and themes, as well as due to the renown of the intertextual tradition of the parrot of Amores 2.6 and the parrot of Silvae 2.4, both of which reach back to Catullus’ passer (sparrow) in Cat. 2 and 3.In the introductory section, I provide the background for Apuleius and the Florida as a collection. In the second section, entitled “Pliny Naturalis 10.58,” I examine Naturalis Historia 10.58 in connection to Florida 12 in order to investigate the ostensibly scientific prose of Florida 12 and the extremely high degree of lexical and organizational similarity between the two passages. My analysis of Naturalis Historia 10.58 begins with a thorough breakdown of the passage, followed by three subsections comparing the criteria of the parrot’s physical attributes, habit and habitat, and human interaction between the model and Florida 12 respectively. The third section, entitled “Ovid Amores 2.6,” and the fourth section, entitled “Statius Silvae 2.4,” both follow the same format and subdivisions as section two. In section three, I examine Amores 2.6 in connection to Florida 12 in order to investigate possible elegiac echoes and to develop the analogue of parrot as poet. In section four, I examine Silvae 2.4 in connection to Florida 12 in order to investigate the further development of the parrot-poet analogue and explore the conjunction of elegiac and epic genres. I conclude with a synthetic analysis of all three major intertextual models, demonstrating Apuleius’ use of these intertexts to incorporate motifs of enslavement and exile which restrict the parrot and its poet analogue alike.
Degree ProgramGraduate College