The "Riches" of Poverty: Literary Games with Poetry in Apuleius' Laus Paupertatis (Apology 18)
Apuleius’ “praise of poverty” and his self-depiction as a virtuous but poor philosopher (Apology 17–23) contain a wealth of conventional material. These chapters also have a number of significant lexical oddities. Many of the unusual phrases found in chapter 18 are in fact allusions to poetic texts that are also tangentially connected to the subject of poverty. Examination of the original texts and contexts (primarily from Plautus and Vergil) deepens our understanding of Apuleius’ peculiar and often humorous manipulation of the inherited material. Apuleius constructs a deeply-layered portrait that combines Greek and Roman material in an impressive display of subtle learning.
Thomas D. Mccreight is Assistant Professor of Classics at Loyola College in Maryland, where he teaches Greek and Latin from introductory to advanced levels and ancient Greek and Roman literature in translation. He has published on Apuleius and rhetoric, magic and medicine.