open to public
This talk is part of a larger project looking at the reception of the long two-book love story of Cupid (Amor or ‘Love’ in Latin) and Psyche (‘Soul’ in Greek), which forms the centrepiece of the Latin novel Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass by the second-century CE writer Apuleius, in European literature, art and opera from 1600 to the present day. Apuleius’ tale narrates how the beautiful princess Psyche gains the enmity of Venus, goddess of love, but the love of Venus’ son Cupid, and how after a series of tribulations and adventures (involving jealous sisters, a husband of mysterious identity, a dramatic revelation scene and an epic-style journey to the Underworld) the two are united in happy marriage and Psyche becomes a goddess. The talk deals with the influential French adaptation (1669) of the tale by Jean La Fontaine, author of the famous Fables, which formed the basis for several adaptations of the story in the time of Louis XIV and the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. All French and Latin will be translated.
Stephen Harrison has been teaching Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford since 1987 and is Professor of Latin Literature at the University of Oxford. His main research and teaching interests are in Latin literature and its reception. He has written books on Virgil, Horace and on the Roman novelist Apuleius, and has edited, co-edited or co-authored more than twenty books on Virgil, Horace, the Roman Novel, Classics, and literary theory–as well as Latin literature in general and on the reception of classical literature. He is an occasional visiting professor at the Universities of Copenhagen and Trondheim and currently serving as William H. Bonsall Visiting Professor at Stanford University.