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Penguin Classics Daphnis And Chloe [Paperback]

Longus , Paul Turner
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 26 2013 Penguin Classics
A tender novel describing eager and inept young love, Daphnis and Chloe tells the story of a baby boy and girl who are discovered separately, two years apart, alone and exposed on a Greek mountainside. Taken in by a goatherd and a shepherd respectively, and raised near the town of Mytilene, they grow to maturity unaware of one another's existence until the mischievous god of love, Eros, creates in them a sudden overpowering desire for one another. A masterpiece among early Greek romances, attracting both high praise and moral disapproval, this work has proved an enduringly fertile source of inspiration for musicians, writers and artists from Henry Fielding to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Maurice Ravel. Longus transforms familiar themes from the romance genre including pirates, dreams, and the supernatural into a virtuoso love story that is rich in insight, humorous and ironical in its treatment of human sexual experience.

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THERE is in Lesbos a large and beautiful city called Mytilene. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Implausible and ludicrous - just like true love Aug. 10 2003
Format:Paperback
"Charming" and "Idyllic" are two words you'll meet often when reading reviews of this ancient tale. And certainly it is both those things. It is the best known and best loved of the "Erotici Graeci", or Greek love stories, that date from the early centuries of the Common Era. It is characteristic of the genre, featuring as it does pirates, supernatural events and some highly implausible plot elements.
The Penguin Classics edition has an excellent translation, introduction and notes by Paul Turner.
The story includes the curious conceit, common in folk tales, that an infant of aristocratic parentage, raised by peasants, will grow up exhibiting all the innate qualities of nobility, like cuckoo chicks raised in another bird's nest. Nature is all; nurture is nothing. This idea can be found in literature until at least late in the nineteenth century. To (most) modern readers it seems ludicrous. In comparison, the belief in Pan and the Muses appears quite reasonable.
Historians and archeologists can tell us much about ancient civilizations, except for the most interesting thing of all; what were these people really like? Novels, drama and poetry give us glimpses into their very hearts and minds. We learn about their relationships between each other and between themselves and their gods. Sometimes we wonder at how alien and strange they appear; at others we are struck at how much like us - like people always, everywhere - they are. Some things never change. Among them are the pains and joys of young love. For as long as there are young lovers, there will be "Daphnis and Chloe".
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer, unadulterated bliss. May 10 2001
By GeoX
Format:Paperback
Man...Daphnis and Chloe. Surely, this is one of the Best Things Ever. An utterly gorgeous evocation of innocent, sweetly naive pastoral life. I honestly can't think of a single work of literature I've enjoyed more. It's short, but richly deserving of multiple readings. If you're not capable of enjoying it, I don't want to know you. It is truly Great, capital 'G'. However, in the interest of objectivity, I should note that there is one thing about it that somewhat irks me: in the end, the title characters are revealed to by of noble birth. That's not a spoiler; you know it right from the get-go. So, while it was inevitable, it just didn't quite work for me. I would have liked to see them go on in idyllic splendour (note the British spelling) forever.
That, however, is a minor quibble. You must read this. It could even save your life: let's say you've read it, and then, sometime later, for whatever reason, you decide to commit suicide. You'd be very likely to think, at some point, 'hey, wait a minute--I can't die now; I need to reread Daphnis and Chloe!' So then you'd turn the engine off, and after you finished your rereading, you'd realize, 'hey--life is GOOD! What was I thinking?' And you'd be right. Something like this couldn't exist if the world wasn't in some sense fundamentally good.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ancient Pastoral Romance Oct. 12 2000
By mp
Format:Paperback
Longus's ancient novel, "Daphnis and Chloe" tells the absolutely charming story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), left to die by exposure in the Greek countryside. Miraculously, the deities are watching out for them--a goat is selected to nurse Daphnis, and a sheep to nurse Chloe--until a goatherd, Lamo, and a shepherd, Dryas, respectively discover the two children. They are raised in the town of Mytilene, a humble agricultural community, where they tend their adopted fathers's herds of goats and sheep.
Here, the mischievous god of love, Eros, sets them aflame with love for each other. Both Daphnis and Chloe are extremely innocent in their affections throughout the novel, experimenting with their feelings and exposing the amusing limits of their little knowledge. Various incidents involving pirates, kidnapping, inter-city war between Mytilene and Methymna, and the suit of Chloe by a host of lusty young men all provide interesting diversions from the main love story. With a very casual cultural attitude towards homoerotic love, we also see the impertinent male slave, Gnatho, make advances toward the clueless Daphnis. Daphnis's run-in with Lycaenium, a married woman of Mytilene, is also an episode of note in the complex sexual landscape of Longus's novel.
Another intriguing factor in Longus's novel is the relationship between humanity and nature. The figure of the goat is omnipresent throughout the novel. Standing apart from our own cultural/religious associations with the goat, in "Daphnis and Chloe," the goat is all at once associated with maternity, reverence, respect, and honesty. In the novel, we see humanity in general in harmony with the natural world all around: plant, beast, and natural divinities.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Implausible and ludicrous - just like true love Aug. 10 2003
By Peter Reeve - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Charming" and "Idyllic" are two words you'll meet often when reading reviews of this ancient tale. And certainly it is both those things. It is the best known and best loved of the "Erotici Graeci", or Greek love stories, that date from the early centuries of the Common Era. It is characteristic of the genre, featuring as it does pirates, supernatural events and some highly implausible plot elements.
The Penguin Classics edition has an excellent translation, introduction and notes by Paul Turner.
The story includes the curious conceit, common in folk tales, that an infant of aristocratic parentage, raised by peasants, will grow up exhibiting all the innate qualities of nobility, like cuckoo chicks raised in another bird's nest. Nature is all; nurture is nothing. This idea can be found in literature until at least late in the nineteenth century. To (most) modern readers it seems ludicrous. In comparison, the belief in Pan and the Muses appears quite reasonable.
Historians and archeologists can tell us much about ancient civilizations, except for the most interesting thing of all; what were these people really like? Novels, drama and poetry give us glimpses into their very hearts and minds. We learn about their relationships between each other and between themselves and their gods. Sometimes we wonder at how alien and strange they appear; at others we are struck at how much like us - like people always, everywhere - they are. Some things never change. Among them are the pains and joys of young love. For as long as there are young lovers, there will be "Daphnis and Chloe".
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ancient Pastoral Romance Oct. 12 2000
By mp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Longus's ancient novel, "Daphnis and Chloe" tells the absolutely charming story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), left to die by exposure in the Greek countryside. Miraculously, the deities are watching out for them--a goat is selected to nurse Daphnis, and a sheep to nurse Chloe--until a goatherd, Lamo, and a shepherd, Dryas, respectively discover the two children. They are raised in the town of Mytilene, a humble agricultural community, where they tend their adopted fathers's herds of goats and sheep.
Here, the mischievous god of love, Eros, sets them aflame with love for each other. Both Daphnis and Chloe are extremely innocent in their affections throughout the novel, experimenting with their feelings and exposing the amusing limits of their little knowledge. Various incidents involving pirates, kidnapping, inter-city war between Mytilene and Methymna, and the suit of Chloe by a host of lusty young men all provide interesting diversions from the main love story. With a very casual cultural attitude towards homoerotic love, we also see the impertinent male slave, Gnatho, make advances toward the clueless Daphnis. Daphnis's run-in with Lycaenium, a married woman of Mytilene, is also an episode of note in the complex sexual landscape of Longus's novel.
Another intriguing factor in Longus's novel is the relationship between humanity and nature. The figure of the goat is omnipresent throughout the novel. Standing apart from our own cultural/religious associations with the goat, in "Daphnis and Chloe," the goat is all at once associated with maternity, reverence, respect, and honesty. In the novel, we see humanity in general in harmony with the natural world all around: plant, beast, and natural divinities.
Into this seemingly innocent landscape, Longus introduces the problematics of class and wealth. The love story between Daphnis and Chloe is further stalled while these issues play themselves out. Society's intrusion into the pastoral story seems to indicate the fantastic nature of the idyll itself. "Daphnis and Chloe" is a brilliant and beautiful ancient tale, and well worth the short time it takes to read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Story March 25 2010
By Ayla87 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book the moment I read the first paragraph. An excellent story that pulls you in and makes you fall in love with the characters. I'll definately be reading this again.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer, unadulterated bliss. May 10 2001
By GeoX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Man...Daphnis and Chloe. Surely, this is one of the Best Things Ever. An utterly gorgeous evocation of innocent, sweetly naive pastoral life. I honestly can't think of a single work of literature I've enjoyed more. It's short, but richly deserving of multiple readings. If you're not capable of enjoying it, I don't want to know you. It is truly Great, capital 'G'. However, in the interest of objectivity, I should note that there is one thing about it that somewhat irks me: in the end, the title characters are revealed to by of noble birth. That's not a spoiler; you know it right from the get-go. So, while it was inevitable, it just didn't quite work for me. I would have liked to see them go on in idyllic splendour (note the British spelling) forever.
That, however, is a minor quibble. You must read this. It could even save your life: let's say you've read it, and then, sometime later, for whatever reason, you decide to commit suicide. You'd be very likely to think, at some point, 'hey, wait a minute--I can't die now; I need to reread Daphnis and Chloe!' So then you'd turn the engine off, and after you finished your rereading, you'd realize, 'hey--life is GOOD! What was I thinking?' And you'd be right. Something like this couldn't exist if the world wasn't in some sense fundamentally good.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product June 28 2014
By Daniel J. Grossi II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I needed this for school with line numbers, so the authors reference numbers really helped. I also needed a physical copy of the book, so this helped too. Thank you Amazon customer support for helping me find this.
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