Myth-Folklore Unit: Apuleius's Cupid and Psyche

Overview. For this unit, you will read the love story of "Cupid and Psyche," an elaborate fairy tale contained within an ancient Roman novel, The Golden Ass, written by Apuleius and translated here into English by Tony Kline. The story of "Cupid and Psyche" is very similar to the story of "Beauty and the Beast," with the role of Beauty played by the lovely Psyche and the role of the Beast played by the god of love himself, Cupid. If you are a fan of fairy tales, I am sure you will enjoy this story: Psyche is definitely a contender for the title of "greatest fairy-tale princess of all time," even if Walt Disney has yet to make her into a cartoon film star. For those of you are who are C.S. Lewis fans, you might be familiar with C.S. Lewis's book Till We Have Faces which is a novel-length adaptation of the Psyche story, re-told from the point of view of Psyche's sister.

Language. This is a modern English prose translation of Apuleius's ancient Latin novel. That means the language might pose some difficulties, but not too many. Just remember that you are reading a novel intended for a sophisticated literary audience in ancient Rome; you were not Apuleius's intended audience! :-)

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Cupid and Psyche. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

Notes. This unit has notes from me on each page, but please feel free to ask questions, too! You can leave comments here just like at any other blog. You can also rate each page with the star ratings checkbox at the bottom of each post. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated!

Read More. In this unit, you read only part of the ancient novel by Apuleius. If you want to read the whole novel as translated by Tony Kline, you can find it at his website: Apuleius - The Golden Ass. You can also read a detailed plot summary at Wikipedia.

Additional Resources. Wikipedia has good background information about Apuleius's life, and also about The Golden Ass. For learning more about the Greek gods and goddess, is an excellent resource. 

  1. The Captive Woman
  2. Her Dream
  3. Psyche's Beauty
  4. The Oracle of Apollo
  5. The Magical Palace
  6. The Mysterious Husband
  7. The Jealousy of Psyche's Sisters
  8. Psyche's Husband Warns Her
  9. Fears and Doubts
  10. Psyche's Husband Revealed
  11. Psyche's Despair
  1. Venus and the Goddesses
  2. Psyche's Prayer
  3. Venus and Mercury
  4. Venus and Psyche
  5. Psyche's Next Task
  6. The Third Task
  7. The Jar of Beauty
  8. The Sleep of the Dead
  9. The Wedding Feast
  10. The Escape

(Cupid and Psyche, photo by M. Simoncini)