Auctor and Actor. A Narratological Reading of Apuleius's the by John J. Winkler

By John J. Winkler

Utilizing contemporary advances in literary thought, Winkler tackles the elusive that means of Apuleius's `The Golden Ass', particularly the connection among publication and reader.

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Notices that it is negated (uon mm curiMus), and is compelled to entertain the possibility that it was after all a significant (perhaps ironic) assertion about the person of thenarrator. (iii) The debate about whether and how to Hstcn to outlandish tales makes explicit for the first-reader that the tale of Aristomenes is a norma) example of the strange-but-true. Every first-reader can sense that rhe predicate "strange but true·· as applied specifically to a talc (Jabula) is not literally a truth-claim in the way it would be if applied to collections of natura) wonders (paradoxography~ and that the attitudes of the narrator and the cynic together define a type of fiction and an appropriate frame of mind for enjoying it.

But since, on first inspection, the interpretation scenes go off in so many different directions and yield no consistent hermeneutic rule about how we should make sense of a story. I turn in the next chapter (3: ~·The Scrupulous Reader") to a set ofissues common to Apuleius's AA and the modern detective story. a genre obsessed with hermeneutic entcruinment. In Chapter 4 ( ••The Contract") I focus on a particular Apulcian trick-the sudden reassignment of guilt or responsibility to an unexpected person.

At this point we realize that Ccrdo. in addition to being an audience for rhc talc ofDiophancs, has become an actor in a drama, and the crowd ofbystanders in the marketplace are the {third) audience. They laugh uncontrollably because from their point of view the actions of Diophanes and Cerdo form a comic skit. The presence of that crowd had been carefully noted both in the opening dc:scription-''for on a certain day when Diophanes. hedged around by a circle of thronging folk. was giving out fates to the ring of bystandcrs ..

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