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Saintsbury's Introduction to Thornley's Daphnis & Chloe 1647 90224 in Large Print

Saintsbury's Introduction to Thornley's Daphnis & Chloe 1647 90224 in Large Print

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Published by LongusSophista
A jeu d'esprit, marked by courtesy, brevity and wit, written by the English scholar, George Saintsbury (1845-1933).
A jeu d'esprit, marked by courtesy, brevity and wit, written by the English scholar, George Saintsbury (1845-1933).

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Published by: LongusSophista on Feb 24, 2009
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05/10/2014

 
Page 1 of 6 – George Saintsbury’s Introduction to Thornley’s Translation of 
Daphnis and Chloe
It is unnecessary to speak at length of this delightful little book, because agreat deal has been written about it already for those who desire elaborateinformation of a learned kind; perhaps also because the bulk of what has been sowritten is pure guess work. We have no evidence whatever about the personality of Longus, and no trustworthy evidence about his date. One scholar has called hisGreek
 prava
— that is to say, "depraved Greek," "kitchen Greek," "dog-Greek": whileothers, including the present writer, if he dare call himself a scholar, find it verypleasant Greek indeed: distinguishable certainly from classical Greek by lack of poignancy and majesty and logical strength, but easy and pretty — in fact, rather likethe French of that eighteenth century whose artists were so fond of it and of itsfellow-romances, no one of which quite equals it in these respects. Still, a great dealhas been written, by German and other scholars, on the aspects, scholarly andpurely literary, of that curious aftergrowth of Greek Literature, the Greek Romance;and the subject is by no means exhausted. But there is no need to trouble readersof the present volume with much of this.
1
They lose something, as has been said, bylosing the Greek itself: and Thornley's English is not the earliest or raciest of the so-called Elizabethan versions of Greek novels — but this probably made it, and makesit, none the less "sweet and pleasant for young ladies" (as he invites them to find it inhis title), either then or now. Moreover, the sixty or seventy years earlier version or adaptation of Angel Day is avowedly "interlaced" with other matter.Mrs. Grundy and Mr. Podsnap would doubtless agree in denouncing any onewho proposed Longus as a study — much more as a recreation — "for young ladies"as an abandoned wretch; but no person of sense and taste will agree with them.There are not a few things in
Daphnis and Chloe
that would not be in such a book if it were written to-day, let alone the time when Mr. Podsnap and Mrs. Grundyflourished. But they are as inoffensively treated as such things can be; and I havesometimes figured to myself a young reviewer of times in the Greek Empirecorresponding to some we have known in those of the English, charging our author with absurd prudery and mere Victorianism — or whatever adjective derived from aRoman or Byzantine ruler the reader may choose to pick out of Gibbon.The fact is that it is, as we said at starting, a delightful little book. The class towhich it belongs, and over the origin of which so much ink has been spilt, seems to
Source:
Daphnis and Chloe
by Longus - Translated out of Greek by George Thornley - Anno 1647 -With an Introduction by George Saintsbury - Illustrated by Martin TraversAvailable at The Open Archive. Compiled bymichaelarabin@hotmail.com23
rd
February 2009
 
Page 2 of 6 – George Saintsbury’s Introduction to Thornley’s Translation of 
Daphnis and Chloe
me (and I think my friend, Professor Phillimore, would not disagree with me verystrongly), to be simply an instance of a literary law perceivable in modern as well asancient times. This is the breaking down of forms of literature, especially fiction,from poetry to prose. Homer writes the
Iliad 
and
Odyssey 
; Heliodorus and Longuswrite
Theagenes and Chariclea
or 
Daphnis and Chloe
. Just so in modernliterature, we find first romances in verse, then those in prose. Even on a muchsmaller scale, working in shorter intervals of time, we find the same thing: as wasinstanced no longer ago than just after the beginning and not long before the end of the nineteenth century in England.But of all such things, and of the connection — certain as a general fact, butvery difficult to work out in particular, and never yet done with any thoroughness —of this curious body of Romance with things of the same kind in Oriental legend onthe one hand, and Occidental on the other; as well as with the beginnings of themodern novel, especially in France, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries;enough has been said, except for a few glances. All our remaining room here iswanted for a short survey — not a mere summary — of this very dainty if slightlyrococo piece of narrative; throwing back to Theocritus for its subject, and forward toWatteau for its decorations.The general scheme of it is that of the story with episodes: but that it is noearly production is shown by the fact that the episodes are made to have as much todo as the author can manage with the story itself, whereas in older ones they areoften mere parentheses. Variation of substance and complication of interest are veryearly demands; if you tell a story to an unsophisticated child — or even to somesophisticated ones — you cannot mention a cat and a dog without being challengedfor details about them. Here the pirates and the guerilla between Methymna andMitylene, really do help on the various actions and interpose the proper delays.Lycaenium, who has shocked so many good people, is thoroughly justified in art if not in morality. The exposure of the children and the tokens which finally andfortunately identify them, have been no extravagances in many ages and countriesof the world, and are not absolutely obsolete even in this advanced period — nay, inthis self-so-called civilised country.
Source:
Daphnis and Chloe
by Longus - Translated out of Greek by George Thornley - Anno 1647 -With an Introduction by George Saintsbury - Illustrated by Martin TraversAvailable at The Open Archive. Compiled by michaelarabin@hotmail.com 23
rd
February 2009
 
Page 3 of 6 – George Saintsbury’s Introduction to Thornley’s Translation of 
Daphnis and Chloe
Except, however, to children of smaller or larger growth, or in cases wherecommand of beauty or raciness of expression makes every part of a storyequally attractive, the main story itself is the thing. It need not be elaborate, thoughthere is no objection to its being so; but, simple or complex, it must in this or thatdegree arrest; just as poetry must, in this or that degree, transport.
Daphnis and Chloe
is, of course, a mere love tale, and one of the simplest possible. It does notarrest to the point of actual transport itself — as some people find
Manon Lescaut 
capable of doing. It is a story of boy-and-girl love (as people contemptuously call it),and of boy-and-girl marriage. But it is the story of a very nice and natural boy andgirl, said to be very pretty themselves, and illustrated, vignetted, staged, whatever you like to call it, in an exceedingly pretty manner, with only the few spots whichcome of the time.Of course, not everybody enjoys prettiness: and it would appear that somepeople positively hate it. For the first, one can be sorry if one is amiable, and(whether one is or not), expect no more from them than one does from a matchwhich has got no tip. It can't strike a light, poor thing, and that is the end of it. But asfor the prettiness-haters, theirs is a very different case, though we need not busyourselves with it now.One of the few accepted common-places about the Greek Romance is that init the heroine first occupies a prominent and continuous position. As with allcommon-places, holes may be picked, and allowances must be made as to this; butit will, on the whole, stand. In one sense, of course, Helen is the most importantindividual person in the
Iliad 
: but we actually see very little of her; in the
Odyssey 
Helen again, Circe, Calypso, Nausicaa, Penelope, play parts important as far as theygo. We can feel that strange contrast of the two Helens, the only parallel to which,though with necessary differences, is that of the two Beatrix Esmonds; and admireand rather like Circe without exactly desiring personal acquaintance; and be sorry for Calypso, and fall in love with Nausicaa. But they are all, except Penelope, heroinesof scenes, not of the whole play, and hardly of whole acts: while Penelope, if mostpervasive, is (not at all because she is a wife) the least interesting. In the dramatists,of course, women's parts are much more insistent; Clytemnestra and Antigone andAlcestis and Medea (to take one example only from each) would settle that matter.
Source:
Daphnis and Chloe
by Longus - Translated out of Greek by George Thornley - Anno 1647 -With an Introduction by George Saintsbury - Illustrated by Martin TraversAvailable at The Open Archive. Compiled by michaelarabin@hotmail.com 23
rd
February 2009

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