Sprookjes in tijden van “crisis” Een functionalistische benadering van een literair fenomeen



The present paper takes Apuleius’s tale of “Cupid and Psyche” (2nd century A.D.) as its
point of departure. Though often taken for granted as one of the oldest literary fairy tales
in the Western tradition, the text itself in fact defies such “easy” categorisations. After
considering the ways in which scholars in the past have attempted to bridge the gap
between this Ancient tale and the actual fairy tale genre, I will suggest an alternative
approach, based on the notion that fairy tale-like narratives tend to self-consciously participate
in the dynamics of their respective literary fields, especially in times of relative
crisis. This approach affords us with the opportunity to study Latin texts like “Cupid and
Psyche” in relation to other fairy tale-like narratives, not only as part of a tradition, but as
a recurring literary phenomenon in its own right.