Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The origin of many literary modes and genres is lost in the mists of time (that of epic, for example), or is associated with the names of originators whose actual works have disappeared (like those of Thespis, the creator of Greek tragedy) or survive only in fragmentary form. The origin of pastoral, however, is well documented. For all extents and purposes, pastoral was invented by the Greek poet Theocritus around 275 BCE, and his chief pastoral poems have survived more or less intact for over 2200 years.

The pastoral mode incorporates an ironic perspective, in that what is represented (ostensibly the life and love of herdsmen or of those who have taken refuge among them) means much more than what appears on the pleasant …

2398 words

Citation: Walker, Steven. "Pastoral". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 April 2008 [, accessed 26 February 2024.]

1224 Pastoral 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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