L'invention d'un mythe: Psyché. allégorie et fiction, du siècle de Platon au temps de La Fontaine

 
Citation
Title:
L'invention d'un mythe: Psyché. allégorie et fiction, du siècle de Platon au temps de La Fontaine
Author:
Editor:
City:
Paris
Publisher:
Honoré Champion
Year:
2006
Volume:
No. of Volumes:
Edition:
Pages:
557
Series Volume:
Series Editor:
Series Title:
Translator:
Language:
French
URL:
www.honorechampion.com/
DOI:
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ISBN:
2745310615
2-7453-1061-5
Last Updated:
January 15th, 2012
Abstract

This book deals with the poetics of the myth of Psyche, and is concerned in particular with its invention (in both senses of the word). It demonstrates, against the grain of standard interpretations, that what we now call the myth of Psyche was “invented” – and recognised as such – from the moment it was appropriated by christendom, and that it developed, in the early modern period, within the context of a reflexion on the powers and the dangers of allegory and fiction. The book examines as well the “invention”, in the rhetorical sense, of the myth. It first relates the fabula, which is at the heart of Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, to a network of figurative representations, lyrical metaphors and philosophical allegories that deal with the nature of psukhê, with its links with eros, from the first Homeric poems through classical tragedy to the first centuries of christianity. The book then establishes a distinction between allegorical reading and allegorical writing. It thus shows that Apuleius’s fabula was read along later allegorical fables taken from Martianus Capella, from Fulgentius and from Boccacio – theatrical works, heroic or mystical poetry, in Italy, in France, in Spain, in England, in Germany. Courtly society therefore focused on a topic that could be adapted to the staging of crucial religious debates within the context of the Counter-Reformation, to the investigation of the modes of gallantry, – of civility and of the relations between men and women. This book further reflects on the notions of genre and on the forms of the tale that surround Apuleius’s fabula, and it shows, finally, that the questioning of allegory moved the interrogation on senses and sensuality from the field of ethics and theology to aesthetics. The impossibility for Psyche to see the forma of the god gave rise, in European literatures, to a meditation on beauty and its pleasures.


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