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Magic and persuasion in Apuleius' Apology

Grant number: 19/06776-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature
Principal Investigator:Isabella Tardin Cardoso
Grantee:Paulo Vinícius Perez Bonafina
Home Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The corpus of this project is the Apology of Apuleius of Madauros (124?-170?), a defense speech made after the author, an intellectual of the Antonine period, was accused of having used magic to seduce his wife. It is a text in which the epideictic and the judicial genres are mingled, and a cogent defense is presented at the same time as discussions on philosophy and magic, which are often built upon allusions to previous literature. In this research we intend to demonstrate how Apuleius' allusive style has not only an aesthetic function, but also invokes certain meanings which can only be perceived in specific degrees of reading. Given this hypothesis, our study will be determined by an intertextual approach, focused mainly on those passages which pertain to magic. That will provide us with a clearer picture of Apuleius' defense strategies, and will also lead to a consideration of broader themes, such as the Second Sophistic, a cultural movement of which, it has been argued, Apuleius could have been a member. Moreover, as part of the research methodology, I intend to present a partial translation of the text and explanatory notes relevant to the themes discussed.