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(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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Tennyson certainly shared these concerns, as is evinced throughout the Idylls. Not surprisingly, the wolf vocabulary is present in several idylls including, most prominently, "Balin and Balan." As we have seen, Balin likens himself to a wolf and accepts being devoured by his "brother beasts" almost eagerly.
Shackford speaks of Theocritus's poetic idylls: "Theocritus chooses the most picturesque and most ideally characteristic moments.
(6) But the matter with which the mature poet is dealing in the Idylls makes the deployment of such an exclusively Anglo-Saxon vocabulary less usual and more--to use a term that will become ironic later in this essay--pregnant.
Tennyson handles this blade carefully and, throughout the composition and expansion of the Idylls of the King, maneuvers the myth in such a way as to construct a past in which England, not Rome, reigned as the beacon of divine guidance and moral superiority.
Indeed, it was the younger composer who was to use the melody of the central Idyll for the subject of his magnificent Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge of 1937 and, like the Walton, a prizewinner at the ISCMF.
Tennyson's Idylls of the king, compared more or less explicitly to an epic (2) in reviews from the period, is an example of the poem retelling the stories of King Arthur and his knights.
Most of Puvis's landscapes were nationally acclaimed idylls that set the tone for future representations of the subject.
Most interesting, though were the Kodaly Second Quartet and Frank Bridge's Three Idylls of 1906.
Chapter 6, "Spanish Idylls," examines the nineteenth-century Iberian revival of idyllic romance in Juan Valera's translation of Daphnis and Chloe (1879), his novel Pepita Jimenez (1874), and Emilia Pardo Bazan's La madre Naturaleza (1885).
On either side of the "Four Pieces" we find the Chamber Concerto for piano and orchestra and "Three Idylls. The concerto was reworked by Bridge from several of his other chamber compositions and published in various forms from 1904 to 1912, presumably the final version as performed here.
In a recent book, Joan Burton has demonstrated a different approach for reading Theocritus' Idylls 2, 14, and 15, an approach that uses modes of analysis other than just irony to achieve a more productive reading of these poems.