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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter pairs two Greek novels: Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe and Achilles Tatius’s Leucippe and Cleitophon, both generally dated to the second century ce. At first glance, they may seem to be strange bedfellows: Longus’s work is a pastoral romance, a small-scale miniature set entirely in an idyllic landscape on the island of Lesbos, where the young lovers enjoy conditions of unimaginable innocence and what adventures they have are limited to their own surroundings, while Achilles Tatius’s is a sprawling tale of maximum complexity of twice the length, involving a wide-ranging geography, and generally encompasses a much broader range of experience. Yet a preliminary comparison of the two romances is an object lesson in the flexibility of the genre itself, that is, the creative possibilities of using novelistic tropes and thematic conventions to produce entirely different results, while reinforcing (if, at times, challenging) the ideological underpinnings of the ideal romance.

Keywords: comedy, dreams, ekphrasis, eros/eroticism, gardens, gender, initiation, kiss, myth and story-telling, virginity

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