Macaulay On The Greek Novel

From one of Macaulay’s Calcutta letters:

I have at stray hours read Longus’s Romance and Xenophon’s Ephesiaca: and I mean to go through Heliodorus, and Achilles Tatius, in the same way. Longus is prodigiously absurd; but there is often an exquisite prettiness in the style. Xenophon’s Novel is the basest thing to be found in Greek. It was discovered at Florence, little more than a hundred years ago, by an English envoy. Nothing so detestable ever came from the Minerva Press.

Trevelyan’s footnote on the third sentence:

Xenophon the Ephesian lived in the third or fourth century of the Christian era. At the end of his work Macaulay has written: ‘A most stupid, worthless performance, below the lowest trash of an English circulating library.’ Achilles Tatius he disposes of with the words ‘Detestable trash;’ and the Æthiopics of Heliodorus, which he appears to have finished on Easter-day, 1837, he pronounces ‘The best of the Greek Romances, which is not saying much for it.’

George Otto Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, i.422.

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