Thursday, September 24, 2009

Doing the research

Research fascinates me, but I'm usually too lazy to do it when it comes to my writing. In attempt to retool my script Eros, I've decided to study the source material of the Eros and Psyche story, rather than just trust summaries written online. Mythology is often presented in summaries, and this takes away the artistic side of these wonderful stories. Mythology is meant to inspire paintings and poetry.

So I read the poem Psyche; or, The Legend of Love by Mary Tighe. This poem was written in 1805. It's pretty difficult to get a print copy, and I found a few out of print copies for a significant chunk of change on Amazon.

Thankfully, I discovered Project Gutenberg, an online database of over 30,000 books. The idea behind Project Gutenberg is to preserve literature in a digital format so that it can be available to future generations. I was able to easily access Tighe's poem. Without Gutenberg, this would have been near impossible.

Tighe's poem starts off following the tradition Eros and Psyche story as laid out in The Golden Ass, but after Psyche is separated from Eros, Tighe goes in her own direction. Psyche embarks on an adventure, guarded by a knight in shinning armor who rides a lion. There are quite a few genuinely beautiful lines by Tighe, and the poem is very romantic. Of course the ending is just what we're hoping with (SLIGHT SPOILER HERE) the identity of the knight (SPOILER ENDS).

As far as research goes, this piece was helpful because Tighe uses Aphrodite as the antagonist, which is what my script does. Very pretty poem, though the rhyme structure breaks down in a couple of spots. With more time I'd like to examine those spots and see if there's any significance to those moments. Usually when a poet writes in such a strict structure, any so-called mistakes are on purpose and have an underlying meaning.