fjwdnforjwfnjworfnnojrwfnojwrfnojwrfnjorgnojgnjorengorjngojr- rfnojrenfojrengojerngojerngoePastoral literature in general
Pastoral is a mode of literature in which the author employs various techniques to place the complex life into a simple one. Paul Alpers distinguishes pastoral as a mode rather than a genre, and he bases this distinction on the recurring attitude of power; that is to say that pastoral literature holds a humble perspective toward nature. Thus, pastoral as a mode occurs in many types of literature (poetry, drama, etc.) as well as genres (most notably the pastoral elegy).
Terry Gifford, a prominent literary theorist, defines pastoral in three ways in his critical book Pastoral. The first way emphasizes the historical literary perspective of the pastoral in which authors recognize and discuss life in the country and in particular the life of a shepherd. This is summed up by Leo Marx with the phrase "No shepherd, no pastoral." The second type of the pastoral is literature that "describes the country with an implicit or explicit contrast to the urban." The third type of pastoral depicts the country life with derogative classifications.
Hesiod's Works and Days presents a 'golden age' when people lived together in harmony with nature. This Golden Age shows that even before Alexandria, ancient Greeks had sentiments of an ideal pastoral life that they had already lost. This is the first example of literature that has pastoral sentiments and may have begun the pastoral tradition. Ovid's Metamorphoses is much like the Works and Days with the description of ages (golden, silver, brazen, iron and human) but with more ages to discuss and less emphasis on the gods and their punishments. In this artificially constructed world, nature acts as the main punisher. Another example of this perfect relationship between man and nature is evident in the encounter of a shepherd and a goatherd who meet in the pastures in Theocritus' poem Idylls 1. Traditionally, pastoral refers to the lives of herdsmen in a romanticized, exaggerated, but representative way. In literature, the adjective 'pastoral' refers to rural subjects and aspects of life in the countryside among shepherds, cowherds and other farm workers that are often romanticized and depicted in a highly unrealistic manner. The pastoral life is usually characterized as being closer to the Golden age than the rest of human life. The setting is a Locus Amoenus, or a beautiful place in nature, sometimes connected with images of the Garden of Eden. An example of the use of the genre is the short poem by the 15th-century Scottish makar Robert Henryson Robene and Makyne which also contains the conflicted emotions often present in the genre. A more tranquil mood is set by Christopher Marlowe's well known lines from The Passionate Shepherd to His Love:
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield."
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" exhibits the concept of Gifford's second definition of pastoral. The speaker of the poem, who is the titled shepherd, draws on the idealization of urban material pleasures to win over his love rather than resorting to the simplified pleasures of pastoral ideology. This can be seen in the listed items: "lined slippers," "purest gold," "silver dishes," and "ivory table" (lines 13, 15, 16, 21, 23). The speaker takes on a voyeuristic point of view with his love, and they are not directly interacting with the other true shepherds and nature.
Pastoral shepherds and maidens usually have Greek names like Corydon or Philomela, reflecting