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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2018

Eros the Cheese Maker: A Food Studies Approach to Daphnis and Chloe

Mary Jaeger

Abstract

Milk, that most pastoral of foods, and its preserved and commodified form, cheese, play important structural roles in Daphnis and Chloe, and references to cheese offer a lens through which to examine the relationship of man and animal. The coagulation of milk by an external agent, moreover, is an important idea in ancient science: Aristotle used it to explain the action of semen on menstrual fluid in conception and the development of the embryo. Daphnis and Chloe’s growing awareness of each other, their union and production of offspring, draw upon this concept. Finally, cheese is the product of both coagulation and physical pressure. The increasing restrictions placed on Chloe, and her increasing commodification, suggest cheese making as a metaphor for her transformation from a child into a commodity exchanged between men.

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