Reading Longus' Daphnis and Chloe and Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon in Counterpoint
Reading the Longus' Daphnis and Chloe and Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon in tandem reveals similar concerns often treated in opposite ways. Some examples: both works raise issues concerning erotic education, the possibility of a better form of love, and value of urban paideia. Whereas D & C's rural protagonists must learn to love despite their lack of education, L & C's couple become ideal lovers despite their background. Both begin with a suggestive ecphrasis and have unreliable narrators from whose narrative the knowing reader can construct a more ideal story, which can include themes of social reconciliation and personal salvation. After considering these and other points, I produce readings of these novels to illustrate these points; in particular I describe the stages by which Leucippe and Clitophon become more ideal romantic lovers despite their education.
Jean Alvares, a student Gareth's, received his PhD from the University of Texas in 1993 and is now an associate professor at Montclair State University. He has published primarily on the Greco-Roman novel. He is now working on a book on ideal and utopian themes in the Greco-Roman novels and approaches to the ideal for literary criticism.