The Metamorphosis of Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast, King Kong

The Metamorphosis of Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast, King Kong

The Metamorphosis of Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast, King Kong

The Metamorphosis of Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast, King Kong

Synopsis

Traces two millennia of changes in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, the major inserted tale in Lucius Apuleus's second-century Latin novel 'Metamorphoses' (or the Golden Ass). While folklorists have tended to deprecate the tale's affiliation with the classic French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, it would resurface in the horror movie, King Kong, an epic retelling that is in many ways acually closer to Apuleius's original Latin. The Middle Platonic philosophic-religious allegorical interpretation of Cupid and Psyche is used to review the courses of the two later mutations.

Excerpt

The argument as to whether the love in The Song of Solomon
or the love and wine symbolism in the work of Omar Khayyam
are to be taken literally or symbolically is futile, since all love
literature is to be taken both literally and symbolically.

—G. Wilson Knight

In writing the dissertation that forms the genesis of this book I have accumulated an enormous debt to two individuals in particular. Professor Raymond F. Birn of the University of Oregon took the risk of admitting an obscure foreign graduate student to the Department of History in fall 1971. I am grateful for his consideration. I am even more grateful to Ray for first pointing out that history is best studied and understood in its confusing and conflicting details rather than by any prefigured schema, however interesting, intelligent, and ingenious. To Dr. Lang my debt is too deep to acknowledge adequately. It will be apparent throughout the text that follows. A friend and a mentor, Bob was always genial and generous with suggestions and meticulous, though at times quite merciless (and I thank him for that), with criticisms that rescued me from several embarrassing pitfalls. I shall always cherish the memory of my long sessions with him; his untimely death has been a devastating emotional experience in my life. To his fond memory I have the honor to dedicate this book.

It is also a pleasure to record my intellectual debts to numerous historians, especially the late Sir Geoffrey Elton, who helped my efforts with unfailing kindness as if I were one of his regular . . .

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