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QOTD

'The delight of recollection refers not only to the one who has loved but also to the one who has loved letters, rekindling knowledge and sensation that are both literary and erotic. In fact, the two activities are not unrelated: readers will recall subjective individual associations connected with their education into both love and letters. Still further, recognition of this highly conventional system implies more than a "tension between physis [nature] and tekhne [art] that is reflected in the very artificial form in which 'natural' education of the children is described." Rather, the boldness of Longus' experiment suggests that at a certain level of analysis, love and letters are inseparable, that one's only means for apprehending any experience of eros is already entirely shaped and determined by the cultural system of representations, including and especially stories about love. Thus, as the children speak the language that the narrator writes, and live in the spatial landscape he creates, the whole problematic relationship between nature and art comes alive. For if, by the premises of the novel, the children are doing what comes naturally, then when they engage in such pastoral activities as comparing one another to berries or myrtles, pelting the other with apples, wishing to be the pan pipe so that the other might play upon the beloved, imitating the nightingale in their singing, or feeling the first pangs of love in the springtime of the flowers, then a curious set of contradictory processes is set into seesaw motion in the mind of the reader, one now gaining, now losing the ascendancy: are these conventions rooted in nature, or (quite the reverse) is "nature" in our perceptions of it sheerly convention?' (Froma I. Zeitlin, "The Poetics of Eros: Nature, Art, and Imitation in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe)

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