Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 648 pages of information about Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama.
making any pretence at covering the whole field of the novellieri, I may instance a tale of Giraldi’s, not lacking in the homely charm which belongs to that author, of a child exposed in a wood and brought up by the shepherds.  These are represented as simple unpretending Lombard peasants, who look to their own business and are credited with none of the arts and graces of their literary fellows.  More exclusively rustic in setting is an anecdote concerning the amours of a shepherd and shepherdess, told with broad humour in the Cent Nouvelles nouvelles and elaborated with characteristic gusto and extraordinarily graphic art by Pietro Fortini.  The crude obscenity of the subject alone serves to show how free the writer was from any influence of the pastoral of polite literature.[71] Numerous other stories concerning shepherds or villani might be cited, from Boccaccio to Bandello, the point of which, whether openly licentious or ostensibly moral, is brought home with a brutal and physical directness utterly foreign to the spirit of the regular pastoral.  This is, on the whole, what one would expect.  The coarse realism that gave life and vitality to the novel, that characteristic product of middle-class cynicism and humour, finds no place in the pastoral of literary tradition.  The conventional grace of the pastoral could offer no material to the novel.  It is true that when we speak of the bourgeois spirit of the novella on the one hand, and the ‘ideal’ pastoral on the other, it is well to remember that the author of the Decameron also wrote the first modern pastoral romance; that the century and country which saw the publication of the Arcadia, the Aminta, and the Pastor fido, also welcomed the work of Fortini, Giraldi, and Bandello; and that to Margaret of Navarre, the imitator of Sannazzaro and patroness of Marot, we are likewise indebted for the Heptameron.  Nevertheless the tendencies, though sometimes united in the person of a single author, yet keep distinct.  Both alike had become a fashion, both alike followed a more or less conventional type.  The novel remained coarse and realistic; the pastoral, whatever may be said of its morality, remained refined and at a conscious remove from real life.  To examine thoroughly the cause of this disseverance from actuality which haunted the pastoral throughout its many transformations would lead us beyond all possible bounds of this inquiry.  One important point may, however, here be noted.  The pastoral, whatever its form, always needed and assumed some external circumstance to give point to its actual content.  The interest seldom arises directly from the narrative itself.  In Theocritus and Sannazzaro this objective point is supplied by the delight of escape from the over-civilization of the city; in Petrarch and Mantuan, by their allegorical intention; in Sacchetti and Lorenzo, by the contrast of town and country, with all its delicate humour;
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Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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