“Daphnis and Chloe”

My beloved detests Daphnis and Chloe claiming it is “just pretentious porn.” Yet to me it is the perfect love story which romances all claim to be. I have always thought that if a love story had to be written, it ought to be what romances call “sweet” and with characters that are naïve rather than experienced. It ought never be what Scarlet is by the end of Gone with the Wind at the beginning. Of course, Daphnis and Chloe comes dangerously close to sex before the wedding (and there is one incident where Daphnis “learns” about sex from a married woman), but I feel like the young lovers are genuinely moving. It is not even “out there” that the two of them were not taught about sex (though perhaps not knowing the word “love” is extreme). When I think of Ovid’s The Art of Love I can’t think of a more unpretentious or innocent portrayal of love. Of course, I haven’t read Ovid yet.

Of course, my guy–if I can call him that–is prudish about all kinds of things: the Brontë sisters, for instance. I have never met anyone who thought Charlotte in particular was anything but moral in her books, but he imagines all kinds of blasphemous (to a Brontë fan) things about her book. Of course, that means he must never have read A Thousand Acres or The Bridges of Madison County. I have never finished the first or picked up the second, but I have never really warmed to popular fiction whose only point is to sell adultery to the public. This may sound hypocritical: I love Willa Cather even when her characters step outside of the social norms of her or our time. Yet somehow the idea of a book selling the idea that some guy you spent a few weeks with matters more than a spouse you merely claimed to be “bored” with–No, if Dickens did it, he didn’t have to write about it afterwards. Anyway…

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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