Topics in Comparative Literature


What grows out of classical literature's interest in the 'lives and loves of shepherds'? We will start by looking at the foundation of pastoral poetry in Greece and Rome and tracing the contours of an imagined world of singing competitions, tormented loves, reciprocated friendships, and ritualized mourning, all informed by the significant contrast of country to city. We will go on to survey the development of -- and reaction to -- pastoral themes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Throughout we will pay close attention to pastoral's engagement with issues of sexuality (especially homoeroticism) and gender, and to ways in which pastoral can speak to ecological crisis: can we identify a "pastoral ethics" in the face of human degradation of the environment? Readings will range from Theocritus, Vergil, and Longus' novel Daphnis and Chloe to Mark Twain, Tom Stoppard, and Annie Proulx.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS SD I; FA HUM; AR HUM