Cupido et Psyche: A Latin Novella for established intermediate Latin readers.

Other level F titles for established intermediate level Latin readers:

Iter Mirabile Dennis et Debrae – A time machine works in this story set in the modern world that is connected to the ancient world through time travel.  What will Julius Caesar think of America?

Itinera Petri:  Flammae Ducant – Fate, leadership and memory are 3 major themes that show up in this fantasy style novel that creates a transition based in understanding for intermediate level readers who plan to move to authentic Latin in the near future.

Cupido et Psyche by Rachel Beth Cunning at Bombax Press retells the well known story of Pysche.  This version adds much more depth and perspective than Filia Regis by Andrew Olimpi in level D in my self directed reading leveling system.  As noted in the preface, this version of the story uses 350 total Latin words.  The expanded vocabulary use creates a version of the story that explores character’s thoughts and perspectives with significant depth.  This rich use of vocabulary is the first reason the title is suitable for students who have not only emerged into intermediate level proficiency but are also fairly established at this level of proficiency.  The fastest processing students in level 3 and 4 seem to enjoy this the most.

The story begins in the past with a recount of Psyche, her family and her situation.  A natural mixture of imperfect and perfect verbs offers the reader multiple repetitions with these forms within a compelling context.  And the chapter also offers the reader many repetitions with the present tense dispersed throughout dialogue between characters.  This natural and needed change in time frames is the 2nd reason this title is suited for a reader who has become an established intermediate level Latin reader.

In general, sentences in Cupido et Psyche are longer than many other novellas.  Even so, vocabulary is clearly sheltered and the story spirals often to create numerous repetitions with the vocabulary used to tell the story.  The author balances repetition with the need for descriptive language to tell the story.  Chapter 2 continues in the past with a focus on Psyche’s desires to have a spouse.  This desire is compared to other things that Psyche does not want which expresses Psyche’s perspective while maintaining the needed balance with repetition of sheltered vocabulary.  Psyche’s desires are juxtaposed to Venus’ desires as the goddess character is introduced at the end of Chapter 2.

As the story continues, the reader learns about the goddess Venus and her son Cupid.  Venus’ anger seems to brew with rich descriptions of her interactions with Cupid.  Will the reader predict what Cupid’s role might be connected to Venus’ anger?  Is the reader prepared to catch the twist in the story found in chapter 4 as Cupid sees Psyche for the 1st time?  So much rich detail already appears by the end of chapter 4 which continues to hook the reader prepared for this level of description with compelling interaction and thoughts between characters.

As the intermediate level reader progresses through the compelling story of Cupido et Psyche simple language structures and complex language structures are beautifully woven together while creating a compelling narrative that includes the support of repetition required for a reader to be able to read straight from the Latin for understanding.  Noun-adjective agreement occurs often with multiple cases in both the singular and plural present in the text.  Superlative and comparative adjectives add depth to descriptions.  Indicative imperfect, perfect and present verbs appear often.  Adverbs, a variety of pronouns and interrogative pronouns add clarity and depth to descriptions throughout the story.  Prepositional phrases offer the reader opportunities to create a mental image of scenes throughout the story.

And complex forms add to the story with thoughtful balance toward supporting the reader with repetition and sheltered vocabulary.  A variety of subjunctive forms in fear clauses, indirect commands, relative clauses of characteristic, and in conditions create depth in connection between actions that do not appear in the novice level texts.  Indirect statements often accompany characters’ thoughts.  Perfect, present and future participles create connection between actions.  And these all appear before the halfway mark of the text!

Make sure and pick up a copy of Cupido et Psyche.  I find the text useful for the fast paced processors in Latin 3.  It is especially useful for students who read Filia Regis by Andrew Olimpi in Latin 2 or the beginning of Latin 3.  This allows them a “re-reading” of the story, yet Cupido et Psyche offers much in respect to expanded vocabulary, depth of description and sentence structure.  Latin 4 students appreciate the depth of the story that includes the support of sheltered vocabulary within a familiar story. Cupido et Psyche is definitely aimed at mid-upper intermediate level Latin readers and it fulfills the role of a true transitional text for readers who are not quite reader for the intensity of advanced+ authentic Classical Latin texts.

But there is more.  Although Cupido et Psyche ends on a bit of a cliff hangar, Ira Veneris is a sequel that uses much of the same vocabulary.  These titles together offer the upper intermediate Latin reader much material with the support of sheltered vocabulary and a consistent writing style.  Purchase copies of both at a discount directly from bombax press, which also includes significant discounts per copy for classroom sets.  Lastly, don’t miss posts from the authors at bombax press.  Find the Cupido et Pysche press release at Bombax and the Ira Veneris press release at Bombax.




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