Daphnis and Chloë (the work has also been translated as The Pastoral Loves of Daphnis and Chloë, 1924, and as The Story of Daphnis and Chloë, 1908) first appeared in English in a version by Richard Waldegrave in 1587, but the translation made by George Thornley in 1657 is more familiar. More recent translations by George Moore and Jack Lindsay are considerably more readable but have not enjoyed wide circulation. Daphnis and Chloë was an influential work throughout Renaissance Europe, its subject matter and style being respectfully recapitulated in pastoral romances produced in the vernacular throughout Europe. Like many late classical works, however—the most notorious examples are credited to Petronius and Lucian—Daphnis and Chloë came to be considered an indecent work because of its relative frankness about sex. For this reason the English text retired for a while in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries into the shady realm of privately printed editions. Unlike the satires of Petronius and Lucian, however, Daphnis and Chloë contains nothing deliberately coarse or obscene; its allegory of the growth and maturation of sexual love is handled with scrupulous delicacy that seems intended to avoid giving offense.
Although the labored and archaic style of the Thornley translation obscures the fact, Daphnis and Chloë is in several ways a strikingly modern work. It has better claims...
(The entire section is 930 words.)
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