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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a discussion on the emergence of the English pastoral elegy. It reviews the importance of the socio-economic circumstances that inform the pastoral elegy. Renaissance pastoral derived from Theocritus the two principal strands of pastoral elegy: the first ‘Idyll’ mourns the death of Daphnis and the eleventh ‘Idyll’ expresses the cyclops' pathetic unrequited love for Gallatea. In Jacobean pastoral elegy, the two strands often coincide, and the love depicted and/or mourned could be either heterosexual or homosexual in orientation. Although the word ‘elegy’ occurs only twice in Shakespeare's plays, in both instances referring to poems about unrequited love, Shakespeare's vision of English history was able to encompass his own variation on pastoral elegy. The characterization of Shakespeare's conflation of pastoral elegy is finally addressed.

Keywords: English pastoral elegy, Shakespeare, Renaissance pastoral, Theocritus, mourns, Daphnis, Gallatea

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