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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Longus (Second Century?)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
THE AUTHOR of ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ is absolutely unknown to us. Even his name is questioned, and there would seem to be no means of settling beyond dispute the age in which this earliest of pastoral idyls was written. It is a mere novelette, of perhaps thirty thousand words. The style is somewhat stilted and pedantic. The author shows no especial familiarity in detail with the remote corner of Lesbos in which his scene is laid. The rustics are decidedly conventional, and at times even courtly.  1
  On the other hand, the writer has succeeded in giving a realistic and naïve picture of the two children, and of their growing affection for each other. The main purpose of the sketch is to trace the instinctive origin and growth of passionate love in innocent and immature beings, left without restraint in each other’s companionship.  2
  Naturally, there is much in the little tale which should be softened or omitted in any modern treatment. Still, the frank sincerity of the Greek story-teller is more agreeable than the rather mawkish propriety of ‘Paul and Virginia,’ its most popular echo. It must be confessed that the prose romance is among the least important or masterly creations of Hellenic genius. Nevertheless this, the most shapely, sane, and healthy among the few extant stories, could not be denied mention at least.  3
  The Greek text, with Latin translation, will be found in the ‘Erotici Scriptores,’ a volume of the great classical library published by Didot. The most accessible translation is, as usual, in the Bohn Library, and seems sufficiently faithful. The opening pages, here cited, are perhaps as adequate an example of the author’s style as could be selected.  4
 
 
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