This is an advanced literary unit based on the P.G. Walsh translation of The Golden Ass, Books 4-6 (Oxford Classics, 1994). Ideal for high-school Pre-AP and AP literature courses, the unit seeks to help students analyze and understand common mythic archetypes and to introduce students to the concept of allegory. Because Cupid and Psyche is a dramatization of Platonic love and a retelling of Plato’s Symposium, it therefore provides opportunities for students to read subtextually and to apply abstract concepts to specific characters, details, and events.
The unit also seeks to help students cope with reading primary sources of mythology, including complicated syntax, cultural allusions, and vocabulary, and so texts other than a direct-from-Latin translation aren’t appropriate. While it’s helpful if students are familiar with looser adaptations by Hamilton, Bulfinch, et al, the effectiveness of this unit depends on students interacting with the precise language of the original author, Lucius Apuleius, albeit in English translation.