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Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche

1. Historical Context

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think through the historical context for Apuleius and his Metamorphoses, focusing in particular on: (i) the state of the Empire in the late first and early second centuries AD; (ii) Apuleius’ life, including his trial for (allegedly) using magic to seduce a wealthy old widow; (iii) Apuleius’ interest in philosophy, especially the works of Plato, some of which bears on his Metamorphoses.

Course

In this course, Dr Regine May (University of Leeds) explores the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. In the first module, we think about the literary and historical context of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, before turning in the second module to consider the ancient novel as a genre. In the third module, we explore some of the literary echoes contained within the story of Cupid and Psyche – epic, tragedy, fairy-tale, love poetry, etc. – before moving on in the fourth module to analyse some of the key characters in the story, as well as thinking about some of the key themes. Finally, in the fifth module, we explore Apuleius’ language and style in more detail with a close reading and detailed analysis of a single chapter within the Cupid and Psyche story: 5.13.


Further Reading:

Primary Reading:
– S. R. Thomson, Apuleius. Metamorphoses V. A Selection. (2018)
– R. May, Apuleius. The Story of Cupid and Psyche. Translation, Introduction and Notes (2019)
– P. G. Walsh, Apuleius. The Golden Ass (2008)
– P. G. Walsh, Petronius. Satyricon (2009)

Commentary:
– E. J. Kenney, Apuleius. Cupid and Psyche (1990)

Secondary Reading:
– S. J. Harrison, Apuleius. A Latin Sophist (2000)
– S. J. Harrison, Characterisation in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. Nine Studies (2015)

Lecturer

Dr Regine May is Associate Professor in Latin Language and Literature at the University of Leeds, with a special interest in ancient drama and the Latin novel. Her most recent publications include a book on Apuleius' use of Roman comedy, tragedy and mime, Apuleius and Drama: The Ass on Stage (2006), and a commentary on Apuleius Metamorphoses Book 1: With an Introduction, Translation and Notes(2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

May, R. (2019, December 21). Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche - Historical Context [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/apuleius-cupid-and-psyche/historical-context-f1b6eb85-39a9-4bf5-9a84-9bf6632ba666

MLA style

May, Regine. "Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche – Historical Context." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Dec 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/apuleius-cupid-and-psyche/historical-context-f1b6eb85-39a9-4bf5-9a84-9bf6632ba666

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