Document Type

Published Article

Journal Title

Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy

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Publication Date

Spring 2014



Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Despite a chronological gulf of nearly two thousand years, the second century C.E. Greek romance writer Longus and the early twentieth century Irish novelist Henry de Vere Stacpoole were prompted to produce their best works by a similar motive: an urge to explore the world, and particularly the phenomenon of love and desire, from a standpoint of complete innocence. Although the resulting novels, Daphnis & Chloe andThe Blue Lagoon respectively, have no evident direct connection, they exhibit surprising similarities not only in plot, setting, and characterization, but also in the values, perspectives, and worldviews they advance. The striking intersections between these two chronologically and geographically diverse works offer us a lens for examining persistent notions of “natural” versus learned masculinity and femininity, for exploring the dynamics behind patriarchal power structures, and for scrutinizing how these issues relate to ideas about the value and merits of civilization. Moreover, analysis of the features common to Longus’ work and the Blue Lagoon narrative, particularly as it is manifested in Randal Kleiser’s 1980 film adaptation of the novel, can serve as a useful pedagogical tool as well. By utilizing an accessible product of popular culture to bring a little-known ancient Greek novel to life, this comparison helps to drive home the persistence of ideologies and power structures that initially seem remote and thus suggests to today’s students the continuing relevance of works from classical antiquity in our modern world in a way that looking at the ancient work in isolation – or even in conjunction with its more direct descendants – cannot.

Original Citation

Day, Kirsten. “Experiments in Love: Longus’ Daphnis & Chloe and Henry de Vere Stacpoole’s The Blue Lagoon.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy 1.1 (2014): n. pag. Web.

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