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Harnett: Great Literature and its Connections to Art



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Harnett: Great Literature and its Connections to Art

  1. Great Literature:

    1. Truth

    2. Beauty

    3. Relevance over time

Example: The Story of Cupid (Eros=Love) and Psyche =Soul—how love and the soul became connected.

Summary of the story: http://www.paleothea.com/Myths/Psyche.html and also at http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/cupidandpsyche/a/CupidandPsyche.htm

  • Aphrodite’s possessiveness

  • Psyche’s beauty and Aphrodite’s jealousy

  • Plague and King’s (Psyche’s father’s) decision to imprison Psyche to be rid of it

  • Cupid, Aphrodite’s son, and his decision to save Psyche

  • Psyche and Cupid happy together, but Cupid will not allow Psyche to see what he looks like

  • Psyche’s sisters convince her that Cupid is a hideous monster

  • Psyche takes a candle to sneak a look at Cupid; he is gorgeous; she stands too long admiring him and drips hot candle wax on him; Cupid awakes with a start and flies away

  • Psyche begs Aphrodite for another chance with Cupid; Aphrodite agrees on the condition that Psyche complete 4 tasks or trials; Psyche gets help on first 3; 4th task is on her own: retrieving some of Persephone’s beauty in a box (an urn or flask in some versions), involved Psyche going down to the Underworld and avoiding dangers (which she does) and resisting the temptation to take some of the beauty herself to make herself more beautiful (which she can’t resist). Psyche opens the box and is stricken with a deathlike sleep

  • Cupid misses Psyche and recovers from his wound (in some versions he is so startled trying to flee Psyche earlier that he stabs himself). He finally returns and revives Psyche with a kiss (see the famous sculpture by Canova). Both Zeus, king of the gods and Aphrodite give permission for Cupid and Psyche to be married

  • Zeus makes Psyche immortal

  • Cupid and Psyche have a daughter, Voluptas (Hedone in Greek mythology), the goddess of "sensual pleasures," whose Latin name means "pleasure" or "bliss." Thus, the child of Love and Soul is Bliss, happiness.




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