Pastoral Literature of the English Renaissance Criticism: Pastoral Drama - Essay

Ashley H. Thorndike (essay date 1899)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Pastoral Element in the English Drama Before 1605,” in Modern Language Notes, Vol. 14,No. 4, April 1899, pp. 114-23.

[In the following essay, Thorndike examines the development of the English pastoral drama, noting the introduction of particularly English elements—such as the appearance of comic characters and the satyr type—into the literary form.]

Most accounts of the English pastoral drama have begun with Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess or Daniel's Queen's Arcadia. There have been references, of course, to some of Lyly's plays, Peele's Arraignment of Paris and Sidney's May Lady, but there has been no recognition of a...

(The entire section is 6416 words.)

Walter W. Greg (essay date 1906)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Three Masterpieces,” in Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama, A. H. Bullen, 1906, pp. 264-316.

[In the following excerpt, Greg examines what he judges the two greatest English dramatic pastoral romances, John Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess and Ben Jonson's Sad Shepherd. He notes Fletcher's greater indebtedness to Italian pastoral dramas than to English courtly-chivalric pieces and finds Jonson's work—the first truly English pastoral—to be a fine achievement despite its several weaknesses. Greg compares these two pieces to Thomas Randolph's Amyntas, a work that, despite its “inferior” merit, shares with the other dramas certain characteristics of...

(The entire section is 12225 words.)

Carol Gesner (essay date 1959)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Tempest as Pastoral Romance,” in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 4, Autumn 1959, pp. 531-39.

[In the following essay, Gesner argues that William Shakespeare's The Tempest is primarily a pastoral play, and that in composing the work Shakespeare used the Greek pastoralist Longus's Daphnis and Chloe as an immediate source.]

The problem of the source of The Tempest has long intrigued scholars, because a single entirely satisfactory work has never been uncovered to account for its origin. Many significant contributions to the solution of the problem have, however, been offered. In 1817 Ludwig Tieck pointed to Die schöne...

(The entire section is 4311 words.)

Jerry H. Bryant (essay date 1963)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Winter's Tale and the Pastoral Tradition,” in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 4, Autumn 1963, pp. 537-98.

[In the following essay, Bryant notes the indebtedness of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Taleto the classical European and English pastoral traditions and argues that with this subtle dramatized commentary on appearance and reality Shakespeare brought freshness to the pastoral mode and transformed its hackneyed conventions.]

It is curious that no appraiser or appreciator seems to have puzzled over the kinship of The Winter's Tale with the pastoral tradition. Most commentators tacitly assume the connection, then abandon it to...

(The entire section is 6460 words.)