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. 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.
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.
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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. 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.
Is There Urban Pastoral? The Case of Theocritus’ Id. 15
This can be seen in the listed items: 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 the origin of the pastoral genre. Pastoral poems are set in beautiful rural landscapes, the literary term for which is "locus amoenus" Latin for "beautiful place" , such as Arcadia , a rural region of Greece , mythological home of the god Pan , which was portrayed as a sort of Eden by the poets.
The tasks of their employment with sheep and other rustic chores is held in the fantasy to be almost wholly undemanding and is left in the background, abandoning the shepherdesses and their swains in a state of almost perfect leisure. This makes them available for embodying perpetual erotic fantasies. The shepherds spend their time chasing pretty girls — or, at least in the Greek and Roman versions, pretty lads as well. The eroticism of Virgil 's second eclogue , Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexin "The shepherd Corydon burned with passion for pretty Alexis" is entirely homosexual .
Pastoral literature continued after Hesiod with the poetry of the Hellenistic Greek Theocritus , several of whose Idylls are set in the countryside probably reflecting the landscape of the island of Cos where the poet lived and involve dialogues between herdsmen. He wrote in the Doric dialect but the metre he chose was the dactylic hexameter associated with the most prestigious form of Greek poetry, epic.
This blend of simplicity and sophistication would play a major part in later pastoral verse. Theocritus was imitated by the Greek poets Bion and Moschus. The Roman poet Virgil adapted pastoral into Latin with his highly influential Eclogues. Virgil introduces two very important uses of pastoral, the contrast between urban and rural lifestyles and political allegory  most notably in Eclogues 1 and 4 respectively. In doing so, Virgil presents a more idealized portrayal of the lives of shepherds while still employing the traditional pastoral conventions of Theocritus.
He was the first to set his poems in Arcadia, an idealized location to which much later pastoral literature will refer. Horace 's The Epodes , ii Country Joys has "the dreaming man" Alfius, who dreams of escaping his busy urban life for the peaceful country. But as "the dreaming man" indicates, this is just a dream for Alfius.
He is too consumed in his career as a usurer to leave it behind for the country. Later Silver Latin poets who wrote pastoral poetry, modeled principally upon Virgil's Eclogues, include Calpurnius Siculus and Nemesianus and the author s of the Einsiedeln Eclogues. Italian poets revived the pastoral from the 14th century onwards, first in Latin examples include works by Petrarch , Pontano and Mantuan then in the Italian vernacular Sannazaro , Boiardo. The fashion for pastoral spread throughout Renaissance Europe. In Spain, Garcilaso de la Vega was an important pioneer and his motifs find themselves renewed in the 20th-century Spanish-language poet Giannina Braschi.
Leading French pastoral poets include Marot and Ronsard. The first pastorals in English were the Eclogues c. Spenser's work consists of twelve eclogues, one for each month of the year, and is written in dialect. It contains elegies , fables and a discussion of the role of poetry in contemporary England. Spenser and his friends appear under various pseudonyms Spenser himself is "Colin Clout". During this period of England's history, many authors explored "anti-pastoral" themes. Additionally, he wrote Arcadia which is filled with pastoral descriptions of the landscape.
In the 17th century came the arrival of the Country house poem. In , Ben Jonson wrote To Penshurst, a poem in which he addresses the estate owned by the Sidney family and tells of its beauty. The basis of the poem is a harmonious and joyous elation of the memories that Jonson had at the manor. It is beautifully written with iambic pentameter, a style that Jonson so eloquently uses to describe the culture of Penshurst.
It is very important to note the insertion of Pan and Bacchus as notable company of the manor. Pan, Greek god of the Pastoral world, half man and half goat, was connected with both hunting and shepherds; Bacchus was the god of wine, intoxication and ritual madness. This reference to Pan and Bacchus in a pastoral view demonstrates how prestigious Penshurst was, to be worthy in the company with gods, notions of just how romanticized the estate was.
Philips focuses on the joys of the countryside and looks upon the lifestyle that accompanies it as being "the first and happiest life, when man enjoyed himself. The poem is very rich with metaphors that relate to religion, politics and history. Similar to Jonson's "To Penshurst", Marvell's poem is describing a pastoral estate.
It moves through the house itself, its history, the gardens, the meadows and other grounds, the woods, the river, his Pupil Mary, and the future. Marvell used nature as a thread to weave together a poem centered around man. We once again see nature fully providing for man.
Marvell also continuously compares nature to art and seems to point out that art can never accomplish on purpose what nature can achieve accidentally or spontaneously. In this pastoral work, he paints the reader a colorful picture of the benefits reaped from hard work. This is an atypical interpretation of the pastoral, given that there is a celebration of labor involved as opposed to central figures living in leisure and nature just taking its course independently.
This acknowledgment of Herrick's work is appropriate, as both Williams and Herrick accentuate the importance of labor in the pastoral lifestyle. The pastoral elegy is a subgenre that uses pastoral elements to lament a death or loss. The most famous pastoral elegy in English is John Milton 's " Lycidas " , written on the death of Edward King, a fellow student at Cambridge University.
Milton used the form both to explore his vocation as a writer and to attack what he saw as the abuses of the Church. The formal English pastoral continued to flourish during the 18th century, eventually dying out at the end. One notable example of an 18th-century work is Alexander Pope 's Pastorals In this work Pope imitates Edmund Spenser 's Shepheardes Calendar , while utilizing classical names and allusions aligning him with Virgil.
In this work Pope sets standards for pastoral literature and critiques many popular poets, one of whom is Spenser, along with his contemporary opponent Ambrose Phillips. During this time period Ambrose Phillips , who is often overlooked because of Pope, modeled his poetry after the Native English form of Pastoral, employing it as a medium to express the true nature and longing of Man. He strove to write in this fashion to conform to what he thought was the original intent of Pastoral literature. As such, he centered his themes around the simplistic life of the Shepherd, and, personified the relationship that humans once had with nature.
John Gay , who came a little later was criticized for his poem's artificiality by Doctor Johnson and attacked for their lack of realism by George Crabbe , who attempted to give a true picture of rural life in his poem The Village.
In , Edmund Spenser also composed a very famous pastoral epic called The Faerie Queene , in which he employs the pastoral mode to accentuate the charm, lushness, and splendor of the poem's super natural world. Spenser alludes to the pastoral continuously throughout the work and also uses it to create allegory in his poem, with the characters as well as with the environment, both of which are meant to have symbolic meaning in the real world. After examining the larger social dynamics within the city we propose a vertical landscape to incorporate more nature into our daily lives.
We actively intervene by appropriating the interstitial space, using nature to cut energy costs by lowering the ambient air temperature while also reducing air and noise pollution. Here we grow firecracker plants that entwine with the balconies, we place a trellis to hang our daily herbs, and plant bauhinia flowers, an emblem of Hong Kong first classified here in We look to professional botanists and local organic farmers to inform our architecture, our housing developments, and built environment.
These narratives provide the backdrop for a broader reflection on humans, nature and the city. What compels Siebert to drive from New York to spend the spring and summer in a tumbledown cabin he is not even sure will still be standing? Ostensibly it is a hole in the road. The road outside his apartment is being dug up for the second time to repair the bad job done by the first construction. During the drive to Wickerby, Siebert recalls that period and his mind is aswirl with images of lopped-off rooster heads, shot-gunned zoo bears, stolen elms; of upturned streets and restless Egyptian mummies in the bullet-riddled night.
He is also spurred on by the fact that his near-wife she has been married before and refuses to get re-married , Bex, whose family owns the crumbling Wickerby, has not returned at the appointed date from a trip to Africa, where she is writing about a film crew that is following a nomadic tribe. So he packs up his car after retrieving it from the hole, into which it has fallen during a mud slide with some clothes, books, and his pets, Lucy the dalmation and Rasteedy the caged bird, and just like that they set off.
Whilst Thoreau might not be his thing, he does dip into a collection of Emerson essays during his stay at Wickerby:. The path of things is silent… Will they suffer a speaker to go with them. A spy they will not suffer; … The condition of true naming … is resigning yourself to the divine aura which breathes through forms, and accompanying that. That place we seek to be re-admitted to is nature. But there is no trap door and we do not need readmitting because we are already part of nature, we already occupy it — even Siebert occupies it as he writes from his apartment in one of the most densely populated, urbanised places in the world.
Siebert refers to the idea that we have been expelled from nature as that one little catch, that snag:. I love the notion that the Garden of Eden may have been inspired by a city. He gives a few gruesome examples. When someone returns to the site of the accident to try and find the fingers, they are already being carried off by ants.
No, this is not the version of nature we wish to return to. If we were never really expelled from nature, then what might the logical conclusion of that train of thought be? Siebert takes that next step. Since we are part of nature, since we were never really expelled from nature, then the things we make are also part of nature, including the cities we build:.
Why is a cemented aggregate of homes arranged in a tall, tight cluster any further from nature than Wickerby is, than one wooden home within the woods? Is it because the city is so thoroughly man-made? Birds make good use of either.
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- Urban pastoral: Alexander Gronsky’s visions of thwarted arcadia — The Calvert Journal.
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On one of their Sunday outings together they missed the last ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty and ended up standing before a dirty shop window, peering into a room full of dusty old tool-and-die machines.