Bucolics(redirected from Book of Bucolics)
In Ancient Greece
During the Renaissance
The pastoral eclogue enjoyed a revival during the Renaissance. Vergil's Bucolics was translated in the 15th cent. in Italy, and pastoral eclogues were written by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The most elaborate pastoral romance was the Arcadia by Jacopo Sannazaro, written partly in prose and partly in verse. Poliziano's Orfeo (c.1471) is one of the earliest pastoral dramas. In France the pastourelle—a short poem in dialogue in which a minstrel courts a shepherdess—appeared as early as the 14th cent. and is exemplified in Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion, a play by Adam de La Halle.
In English literature the pastoral is a familiar feature of Renaissance poetry. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia (1590) is an epic story in pastoral dress, and in The Shepheardes Calender (1579) Edmund Spenser used the pastoral as a vehicle for political and religious discussion. Many of the love lyrics of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Michael Drayton have a pastoral setting. Christopher Marlowe's “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” is one of the most famous pastoral lyrics, and Milton's philosophical and deeply felt “Lycidas” is a great pastoral elegy. In drama well-known examples of the pastoral are Shakespeare's As You Like It, the shearers' feast in A Winter's Tale, and Milton's masque Comus.
During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
See the anthology ed. by T. P. Harrison (1939, repr. 1968); studies by H. E. Toliver (1971), and L. Lerner (1972); L. Metzger (1986); C. M. Schenck (1989).
one of the minor genres of Alexandrian poetry, further developed in Roman literature and European literatures of a later date.
In keeping with their source in folklore—shepherds’ songs—Greek bucolics were characterized by the inclusion of songs, variety and persuasiveness of the characters revealed in them, mastery of details (especially in the landscape, which was always peaceful and therefore conventional), and praise of the charms of rural life. The meter of bucolics is dactylic hexameter, which is lighter than the hexameter used in epics because of the obligatory second caesura (the so-called bucolic caesura).
Theocritus is considered the founder of the bucolic genre. In the works of his followers—Moschus, Bion (second century B.C.), and others—that have come down to us under his name, the bucolics’ sole theme is love. The greatest Roman writer of bucolics was Vergil. Roman poetry added to the genre an abundance of topical political allusions that were primarily panegyrics to the ruling emperors. After Vergil, Calpurnius (first century A.D.) and Nemesianus (third century A.D.) gave bucolics a partly didactic character.
REFERENCESIstoriia grecheskoi literatury, vol. 3. Edited by S. I. Sobolevskii and others. Moscow, 1960.
Scheda, G. Studien zur bukolischen Dichtung der neronischen Epoche. Bonn, 1969.
S. P. MARKISH