Pastoral Literature of the English Renaissance Criticism: Principal Figures Of The Elizabethan Period - Essay

E. K. (essay date 1579)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “E. K.,” in The Pastoral Mode: A Casebook, edited by Bryan Loughrey, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1984, pp. 29-33.

[In the following dedicatory epistle to Gabriel Harvey, which was originally prefixed to the 1579 edition of Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calender, the writer “E. K.” (probably Edward Kirke) praises Spenser for dignifying the language with the use of archaisms and for giving his eclogues a particularly English hue.]

Uncouthe unkiste, Sayde the olde famous Poete Chaucer: whom for his excellencie and wonderfull skil in making, his scholler Lidgate, a worthy scholler of so excellent a maister, calleth the Loade-starre of our Language: and whom...

(The entire section is 2221 words.)

A. C. Hamilton (essay date 1956)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Argument of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender,” in ELH, Vol. 23, No. 3, September 1956, pp. 171-82.

[In the following essay, Hamilton explores the larger meaning of Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calender—which he claims is the rejection of the pastoral life for the truly dedicated life in the world—by examining not what the poem has in common with other pastoral poetry, as has been the strategy of other critics, but by looking at what is unique in Spenser's re-creation of the pastoral form.]

The critical attention given Spenser's Shepheardes Calender, apart from praise of the work as a brilliant poetical exercise, has mainly been...

(The entire section is 4207 words.)

Elizabeth Dipple (essay date 1968)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Harmony and Pastoral in the Old Arcadia,” in ELH, Vol. 35, No. 3, September 1968, pp. 309-28.

[In the following essay, Dipple examines Philip Sidney's use of pastoral setting and conventions in the Old Arcadia, and argues that Sidney ironically exploits pastoral connotations to dramatize the fall from harmony to disharmony and to illustrate the ultimate impracticability of the idealized pastoral world.]


Arcadia amonge all the Provinces of Grece was ever had in singuler reputation, partly for the sweetnes of the Aire and other naturall benefittes: But, principally, for the moderate &...

(The entire section is 8181 words.)

James Sambrook (essay date 1983)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Some Spenserians,” in English Pastoral Poetry, Twayne Publishers, 1983, pp. 48-58.

[In the following excerpt, Sambrook surveys the eclogues of courtly writers such as Michael Drayton, Richard Barnfield, George Wither, and William Browne, who took Edmund Spenser as their model, and contends that the work of these later poets lacks the symbolic richness and formal complexity of that of their master.]

Allegory became a less potent lure as Elizabethan and Jacobean poets moved further away from Italian models. A late Jacobean critic, Michael Drayton, in the address to the reader of his Pastorals (1619), admits allegory as a possibility rather than a...

(The entire section is 3923 words.)