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pastoral literature, class of literature that presents the society of shepherds as miễn phí from the complexity và corruption of thành phố life. Many of the idylls written in its name are far remote from the realities of any life, rustic or urban. Aý muốn the writers who have used the pastoral convention with striking success và vitality are the classical poets Theocritus & Virgil and the English poets Edmund Spenser, Robert Herriông chồng, John Milton, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Matthew Arnold.
The pastoral convention sometimes uses the device of “singing matches” between two or more shepherds, & it often presents the poet and his friends in the (usually thin) disguises of shepherds & shepherdesses. Themes include, notably, love and death. Both tradition & themes were largely established by Theocritus, whose Bucolics are the first examples of pastoral poetry. The tradition was passed on, through Bion, Moschus, và Longus, from Greece to Rome, where Virgil (who transferred the setting from Sicily to lớn Arcadia, in the Greek Peloponnese, now the symbol of a pastoral paradise) used the device of alluding lớn contemporary problems—agrarian, political, & personal—in the rustic society he portrayed. His Eclogues exerted a powerful effect on poets of the Renaissance, including Dante, Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio in Italy; Pierre de Ronsard in France; and Garcilaso de la Vega in Spain. These were further influenced by medieval Christian commentators on Virgil và by the pastoral scenes of the Old and New Testaments (Cain và Abel, David, the Bethlehem shepherds, và the figure of Christ the good shepherd). During the 16th and 17th centuries, too, pastoral romance novels (by Jacopo Sannazzaro, Jorge de Montemayor, Miguel de Cervantes, & Honoré d’Urfé) appeared, as did in the 15th và 16th centuries the pastoral drama (by Torqualớn Tasso và Battista Guarini).
Fiction that presents rural life as an idyllic condition, with exquisitely clean shepherdesses & sheep immune lớn foot-rot, is of very…
In English poetry there had been some examples of pastoral literature in the earlier 16th century, but the appearance in 1579 of Edmund Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender, which imitated not only classical models but also the Renaissance poets of France and Italy, brought about a vogue for the pastoral. Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Greene, Thomas Nash, Christopher Marlowe, Michael Drayton, Thomas Dekker, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Campion, William Browne, William Drummond, và Phineas Fletcher all wrote pastoral poetry. (This vogue was subjected lớn some satirical bình luận in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It—itself a pastoral play.) The first English novels, by Robert Greene và Thomas Lodge, were written in the pastoral mode. Apart from Shakespeare, playwrights who attempted pastoral drama included John Lyly, George Peele, John Fletcher, Ben Jonson, John Day, & James Shirley.
The climax of this phase of the pastoral tradition was reached in the quality blkết thúc of freshness và learned imitation achieved by the poetry of Herriông chồng và of Andrew Marvell. Later 17th-century work, apart from that of Milton, was more pedantic. The 18th-century revival of the pastoral mode is chiefly remarkable for its place in a larger quarrel between those Neoclassical critics who preferred “ancient” poetry và those others who supported the “modern.” This dispute raged in France, where the “ancient” sympathy was represented in the pastoral convention by René Rapin, whose shepherds were figures of uncomplicated virtue in a simple scene. The “modern” pastoral, deriving from Bernard de Fontenelle, dwelled on the innocence of the contemporary rustic (though not on his miseries). In Englvà the controversy was reflected in a quarrel between Alexander Pope & Ambrose Philips, though the liveliest pastorals of the period were by John Gay, whose mode was burlesque (và whose Beggar’s Opera is ironically subtitled “A Newgate Pastoral”—Newgate being one of London’s prisons).
A growing reaction against the artificialities of the genre, combined with new attitudes to the natural man and the natural scene, resulted in a sometimes bitter injection of reality into lớn the rustic scenes of such poets and novelists as Robert Burns, George Crabbe, William Wordsworth, John Clare, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, George Svà, Émile Zola, B.M. Bjørnson, và Knut Hamsun. Only the pastoral elegy survived, through Shelley & Matthew Arnold.
In the time since Wordsworth, poets have sometimes revived the pastoral mode, though usually for some special purpose of their own—often ironic, as in the eclogues of Louis MacNeice, or obscure, as when W.H. Auden called his long poem The Age of Anxiety “a baroque eclogue.” See also elegy.