idyll


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idyll

(sometimes US), idyl
1. a poem or prose work describing an idealized rural life, pastoral scenes, etc.
2. any simple narrative or descriptive piece in poetry or prose
3. a piece of music with a calm or pastoral character

Idyll

 

one of the main literary forms of bucolic poetry. The term “idyll” was first applied in the scholia to the short poems of the ancient Greek poet Theocritus, which were written primarily in hexameter and in different literary forms (the mime, epyllion, and lyric monologue). The poems are linked by an interest in the daily life of simple people, in personal feelings, and in nature, and the images are presented with a deliberate lack of artifice and a marked nonsocial context. Vergil followed Theocritus’ lead.

In modern European literature the term “idyll” is broadly applied to all bucolic poetry, including the idyll proper, all varieties of pastoral poetry, and works with idyllic strains and motifs. In the narrow sense of the word, an idyll is a form of the lyric and the epic—a short poem depicting a tranquil existence in harmony with nature, which focuses on the poet’s or hero’s inner feelings (the idyll proper). It became a favorite genre of such sentimentalists as I. H. Voss, F. Miiller, and Jean Paul (Germany) and S. Gessner (Switzerland). Examples of the idyll in Russian literature are found in the works of A. A. Del’vig, N. I. Gnedich, and V. I. Panaev.

TEXTS

Panaev, V. I. Idillii. St. Petersburg, 1820.
Feokril, Moskh, i Bion: Idillii i epigrammy. Translation, commentary, and afterword by M. E. Grabar’-Passek. Moscow, 1958.

I. V. SHTAL’

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