Daphnis und Chloe

by Longos

Other authorsLongus (Author), Otto Schönberger (Translator)
Paperback, 1988



Call number

FH 67102 D212



Stuttgart Reclam 1988


'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)

User reviews

LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
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.
LibraryThing member joanneb
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member TrysB
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.
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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.
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LibraryThing member Petroglyph
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member timspalding
Not my favorite translation, but the work itself can't be beat.


Original language

Greek (Ancient)

Original publication date



3150069114 / 9783150069110
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