Pastoral influences on Robert Greene's social views in his romances and comedies

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Helen Honeycutt Mackay (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Spencer

Abstract: Robert Greene, as a professional author and dramatist, was keenly attuned to audience expectations and to the literary trends of his day. One of the most notable of those trends in the 1580's was pastoral, which in England was not so much a genre but an idea which could be incorporated into virtually any other literary form. Furthermore, it was an idea which had intrinsic social Implications in that its main thrust usually involved the retreat of an aristocrat to the world of humble folk, especially shepherds. While there the nobles would associate with the shepherds, engaging in the same pastoral pursuits, and accepting a surprisingly equal social exchange. Most authors glibly accepted this as a pretty convention, often even giving it an allegorical thrust. Greene, however, seems to have been attracted to pastoral primarily because of this social leveling, because he used pastoral concepts and, later, forms, as a means of enabling nobles and commoners to mingle freely, and, in so doing, to demonstrate the nature of true nobility. This true, or innate, nobility he saw as independent of social class, as based only upon the "gifts of Nature"— beauty, virtue, and, most importantly, wit.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1977
Greene, Robert, $d 1558?-1592 $x Criticism and interpretation
Greene, Robert, $d 1558?-1592 $x Political and social views
Pastoral literature $x Influence

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