Introduction
in A Companion to Pastoral Poetry of the English Renaissance
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The Introduction traces the history of the pastoral mode from Theocritus to the Renaissance, and its afterlife to the present day. It examines the social and political implications of pastoral, and its allusive application to many sectors of human experience. It relates this record of history and cultural politics to the wide range of literary forms incorporating the mode, as well as allied forms and genres, and related conventions like the Golden Age and the Earthly Paradise. Through this comprehensive discussion, it attempts an evaluation of the pastoral tradition as a whole, and separately of its major vehicles and exponents. In a separate section, it traces the means, routes and forms by which pastoral texts circulated in manuscript and print.

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