late_born_myth: (damsel in distress)
[personal profile] late_born_myth
"O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retired
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired."

John Keats, Ode to Psyche


If you want to talk to Psyche-mun, just post here. Comments are screened.

The earliest surviving version of Psyche's story comes in the Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, written in the second century AD. Philosophy, religion and myth in that century were undergoing a major melting-pot process in that century, with Greco-Roman mythology combining with mysticism from Egypt, Asia Minor, and points east, and the new religion of Christianity was finding its rituals and deep mysteries. The story of Psyche, like much of the literature of the time, probably has its origins in folk traditions begun centuries before; as a story, it falls directly between classical myth and fairy tale. A great many later tales, like "Beauty and the Beast" and "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," have their roots in Psyche and Eros's story, and poets, authors, and artists throughout the centuries have found the subject irresistible.

My version of Psyche is derived primarily from Apuleius (there's a good translation here, with rather nifty Aubrey Beardsley-meets-Arthur Rackham-ish illustrations). Wikipedia also does a decent overview, with some good links. Being a C.S. Lewis fangirl, I was also somewhat influenced by his very wonderful novel Till We Have Faces, but mainly for her backstory I just did a bit of research into civilizations that seemed to me to be about the right period. And then, well, made things up as I went along.
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February 2010


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