THE MODERN PSYCHE OF LOUIS COUPERUS (Moderna Psyche Louisa Couperusa)
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The author of this article asks what formed the basis of the Psyche figure in the eponymous novel by the Dutch writer Louis Couperus (1898) and in answering it attempts a complex analysis of this literary character in the context of artistic sensibilities of the late 19th century. It appears that Couperus' novel, which is an amalgam of various motifs from the history of European literature, art and philosophy, is an attempt for a re-mythisation of the character, while it is at the same time rooted in the Christian tradition of the interpretation of the story by Apuleius from the 2nd century. A comparison with some pictorial representations of Psyche from the times before Apuleius to present, but also references to some female literary characters from the second half of the 19th century, shows that on the one hand Couperus significantly contributed to the up-dating of the ancient story, while on the other he did not lose the historical depth of its treatment in European cultural history.
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