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Daphnis and Chloe

by Longos

Other authors: Shannon N. Byrne (Editor), Edmund P. Cueva (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9371115,608 (3.7)31
'he sat down and wept, to think that even the rams knew more about the deeds of love than he did'Daphnis is fifteen years old, Chloe thirteen. They are drawn to each other and long to make love. But no one has told them what love is, nor do they know how to accomplish the physical act. Round their predicament Longus weaves a fantasy which entertains and instructs, but never errs in taste.The hard toil and precariousness of peasant life are here, but so are its compensations - revelry, music, dance, and storytelling. Above the action brood divine presences - Eros, Dionysus, Pan, the Nymphs - who collaborate to guide the adolescents into the mystery of Love, at once a sensual and areligious initiation.Daphnis and Chloe is the best known, and the best, of the early Greek romances, precursors to the modern novel. Admired by Goethe, it has been reinterpreted in music and art by Ravel and Chagall. This new translation is immensely readable, and does full justice to the humour and humanity of thestory.… (more)

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» See also 31 mentions

English (6)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)

This book seems so out of place. This little novel of pastoral love when set against the epics of Greek and Roman poetry seems like something the contemporaries couldn’t have taken seriously. Yet it’s a captivating and sensuous read, perhaps more now than it was then. It bears some resemblance to Sorrows of Young Werther and many books with simple plots, but it contains the magical elements of myth, like Shakespeare’s more lighthearted plays. It was a lot of fun, and could be considered one of the archetype texts of the pastoral genre. It is definitely an important book, though considering it a perfect novel is impossible. The plot is eccentric and the characters highly naïve, and it partakes of many of the elements of fable and bedtime stories. The descriptions are well-done and the action is brief and unimportant. It could have been written by Flaubert, or an admirer of Flaubert. It is the only thing Longus ever wrote that survived, if he even existed as an actual person. Nothing is known about him, yet he is remembered for this slight and charming tale, the type of thing he might have scribbled out over a few weeks, composed with wide brush strokes that spoke to many different sorts of people and appealed to the desires we all feel for the freedom of the heathens who enjoy Nature more than busy city folk.
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  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
Written in the 2ndC CE, this pastoral romance struck me just by how naively uncynical it was. Charming, and interesting more than engaging, I thought. But it’s a short read, and well worth having read it.

A goatherd and a shepherdess (each abandoned as babies by their wealthy parents) fall hard for each other, but since they have no idea what love is (much less sex), their emotions confuse them, and they fumble about, kissing and hugging like there’s no tomorrow. And someone had to explain even kissing to them. Various mishaps happen to either half of the couple, and in a world where capricious Gods and Nymphs can turn against anyone for almost any reason, a harmonious outcome is never guaranteed. The only thing that the text takes pains to assure the readers of remains inviolable is Chloe’s virginity.

What I’ll remember most clearly from Daphnis and Chloe is its almost pathological naiveté: sarcastic, snarky little me is not used to being served uncynical charm unless its purpose is later subversion. This ancient tale, though, is so … wholesome! As though cynicism had not yet been invented. I’m not sure what to make of that, really.

Also, it’s eye-rolling just how much importance is attached to female virginity. The “loss” of female innocence is presented as unthinkable in ways that male innocence would not even qualify for. But yeah: the past is a different country.

Do give it a try: even with its insistence on innocence, it’s an interesting view into an ancient society and the kinds of tropes and tales it apparently appreciated. ( )
1 vote Petroglyph | Oct 5, 2017 |
This is a pastoral poem, the story of which has been taken and remade by many other authors. They are separated from their real parents as babies and Daphnis is suckled by a goat, while Chloe is nursed by a ewe. Eventually they are found by shepherds who raise them to be a shepherd and a goatherd. They pasture their flocks together and develop a warm affection for one another. They are eventually restored to their true estates and are happily married.
1 vote TrysB | May 6, 2013 |
This is a story written by Longus between the 3rd and 5th century A.D. This version is a translation into English by George Thornley, published in 1657.

A boy and a girl, by coincidence, were both abandoned at birth but discovered and reared by two pastoral families as their own. As two young people, they work side by side on the island of Lesbos as a goatherd and shepherd. This is the story of how they fall in love and how poor Daphnis faces and recovers from a number of challenges. Scattered in between the events are short side stories about adventures of the Roman gods, which are told to Daphnis and Chloe by incidental characters in the story.

I found this book to be a both delightful and fascinating. It is a Greek story that provides a glimpse into everyday life of ordinary folk in an era when, for example, religious devotion and sacrifice to the appropriate gods was how you lived. And the description of how hard Daphnis falls for Chloe is poetic, sweet, and slightly erotic.

George Thornley used the subtitle "A Most Sweet, and Pleasant Pastorall ROMANCE for Young Ladies." For our era, "young adult" would be more appropriate. Nevertheless, this Greek story translated into the English of Shakespeare's era is an easy and pleasant read. ( )
1 vote joanneb | Dec 3, 2009 |
A classic, but one that doesn't move neatly on a straight line into our own times. It has been rewritten under many guises; here, then, is the original, by way of a marvellous translation; but this is a book to be studied, not consumed. It isn't throwaway fiction, but I fear I treated it as such. ( )
1 vote soylentgreen23 | Jan 6, 2007 |
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» Add other authors (183 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
LongosAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byrne, Shannon N.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cueva, Edmund P.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amiot, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Audran, BenoîtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baar, Marry vanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergua Cavero, JorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonnard, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bordone, ParisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, J.M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Es, Marjon vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feldhūns, ĀbramsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García Gual, CarlosForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaselee, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grimal, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffmann, FelixIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Camus, AntoineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindsay, JackTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maillol, AristideIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauersberger, ArnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Müller, ReimarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, J. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reeve, M. D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thornley, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valera, JuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zinserling-Paul, VerenaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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