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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



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.


References in periodicals archive ?
in Idylls is explored in great depth, but that of the manly lady is
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.
A delightfully dramatic though sometimes understated last Idylls underlined the fact these pieces deserve to be played much more often.
Her discussion is exemplified by several idylls, including "La sera del di di festa," "A Silvia," and "Le ricordanze.
Such contrasting patterns of consumption emerge repeatedly in Idylls and indicate one of the contemporary ideological concerns running through Tennyson's Arthurian epic: in its representations of male feasting and female food refusal, the poem appears to reproduce the gendered ordering of appetite implicit in Victorian culture.
He succeeds both because he begins by reconfiguring fundamental critical concepts, such as "genre," "mode," and "conventions," that we might be tempted to take as given, and because at every turn he provides detailed, comprehensive, and fresh readings of an impressively broad range of texts (Theocritus's Idylls, Virgil's Eclogues, As You Like It, The Shepheardes Calender, Lycidas, The Ruined Cottage, Silas Marner, and others).
dispute revolved around an ambitious edition of Idylls of the King,
By 1911, he was translating late Victorian fantasies, like Henry Scott Tuke's primly gay summer idylls of British boys sunning and bathing, into primitive rhythms a la Matisse, a feat performed in his dining-room murals for Borough Polytechnic in South London, where he depicted stripped-bare muscular youths swimming and diving in a sea of modernistic wriggles.
Tennyson committed decades of his life to recrafting medieval Arthurian romance into his eventual Victorian epic, Idylls of the King, but his earliest publication from the venture shows that he approached the project with concern for its relevance to modern society.
The Idylls of the King [functioned as] a shell to encase the nineteenth century.