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The Worlds of Aulus Gellius$
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Leofranc Holford-Strevens and Amiel Vardi

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264827.001.0001

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Gellius, Apuleius, and Satire on the Intellectual *

Gellius, Apuleius, and Satire on the Intellectual *

(p.223) 9 Gellius, Apuleius, and Satire on the Intellectual *
The Worlds of Aulus Gellius

Wytse Keulen

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares Gellius' and Apuleius' techniques of characterizing and satirizing certain types of intellectuals. These techniques are shown to be often common to both authors and to rely on a wide and long tradition of satirical portrayal of intellectual that goes back to Aristophanes, the Platonic dialogue and the role assigned to the figure of Socrates therein, and up to Plutarch's Table Talks. Both authors are also shown to direct their censure at shared targets, especially pseudo-intellectuals, pedantry, polymathy, incredible stories, and the resort to alleged autopsy to establish credibility. Finally, the chapter examines to what extent Gellius and Apuleius satirize themselves through their ‘autobiographical’ portrayals, Apuleius mainly through the portrayal of Lucius, his satirical alter ego in the Metamorphoses, and Gellius in a series of anecdotes in which the author's ‘I’ or one of his admired teachers are made to face justifiable criticism.

Keywords:   satire, Socratic motifs, intellectuals, pedantry, polymathy, autopsy, self-irony

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