AskDefine | Define pastoral

Dictionary Definition

pastoral adj
1 of or relating to a pastor; "pastoral work"; "a pastoral letter"
2 relating to shepherds or herdsmen or devoted to raising sheep or cattle; "pastoral seminomadic people"; "pastoral land"; "a pastoral economy" [syn: bucolic]
3 used of idealized country life; "a country life of arcadian contentment"; "a pleasant bucolic scene"; "charming in its pastoral setting"; "rustic tranquility" [syn: arcadian, bucolic, rustic]
4 suggestive of an idyll; charmingly simple and serene; "his idyllic life in Tahiti"; "the pastoral legends of America's Golden Age" [syn: idyllic]

Noun

1 a musical composition that evokes rural life [syn: pastorale, idyll]
2 a letter from a pastor to the congregation
3 a literary work idealizing the rural life (especially the life of shepherds)

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

pastoralis, from pastor, shepherd, + adjective suffix -alis

Pronunciation

păs"tōr-al
ˌpæs.ˈtɔːɹəl

Adjective

  1. Of or pertaining to shepherds; hence, relating to rural life and scenes; as, a pastoral life.
    Quotations
    • He wanders west as far as Memphis, a solitary migrant upon that flat and pastoral landscape. - 1985 McCarthy, Blood Meridian, chapter 1.
  2. Relating to the care of souls, or to the pastor of a church; as, pastoral duties; a pastoral letter.

Translations

Noun

  1. A poem describing the life and manners of shepherds; a poem in which the speakers assume the character of shepherds; an idyl; a bucolic.
  2. Music: A cantata relating to rural life; a composition for instruments characterized by simplicity and sweetness; a lyrical composition the subject of which is taken from rural life. Moore
  3. Ecclesiastics: A letter of a pastor to his charge; specifically, a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese; also (Prot. Epis. Ch.), a letter of the House of Bishops, to be read in each parish.

Translations

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Pastoral, as an adjective, refers to the lifestyle of shepherds and pastoralists, moving livestock around larger areas of land according to seasons and availability of water and feed. "Pastoral" also describes literature, art and music which depicts the life of shepherds, often in a highly idealised manner. It may also be used as a noun (a pastoral) to describe a single work of pastoral poetry, music or drama. An alternative name for the literary "pastoral" (both as an adjective and a noun) is bucolic, from the Greek βουκóλος, meaning a "cowherd". This reflects the Greek origin of the pastoral tradition.

Pastoral literature

Pastoral literature in general

In literature, the adjective 'pastoral' refers to rural subjects and aspects of life in the countryside among shepherds, cowherds and other farm workers that are often romanticized and depicted in a highly unrealistic manner. Indeed, the pastoral life is sometimes depicted as being far closer to the Golden age than the rest of human life. A typical mood is set by Christopher Marlowe's well known lines from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love":
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
Pastoral shepherds and maidens usually have Greek names like Corydon or Philomela, reflecting the origin of the pastoral genre. Pastoral poems are set in beautiful rural landscapes, the literary term for which is "locus amoenus" (Latin for "beautiful place"), such as Arcadia, a rural region of Greece, mythological home of the god Pan, which was portrayed as a sort of Eden by the poets. The tasks of their employment with sheep and other rustic chores is held in the fantasy to be almost wholly undemanding and is left in the background, abandoning the shepherdesses and their swains in a state of almost perfect leisure. This makes them available for embodying perpetual erotic fantasies. The shepherds spend their time chasing pretty girls — or, at least in the Greek and Roman versions, pretty lads as well. The eroticism of Virgil's second eclogue, Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexin ("The shepherd Corydon burned with passion for pretty Alexis") is entirely homosexual.

Pastoral poetry

References

pastoral in Persian: پاستورال
pastoral in Czech: Pastorála
pastoral in German: Schäferdichtung
pastoral in French: Poésie pastorale
pastoral in Italian: Pastorale (arte)
pastoral in Japanese: パストラル
pastoral in Macedonian: Пасторална поезија
pastoral in Norwegian: Hyrdediktning
pastoral in Polish: Sielanka
pastoral in Russian: Пастораль
pastoral in Finnish: Paimenrunous
pastoral in Ukrainian: Пастораль

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Alcaic, Anacreontic, Arcadian, Castalian, Edenic, English sonnet, Grand Guignol, Homeric, Horatian ode, Hudibrastic, Italian sonnet, Passion play, Petrarchan sonnet, Pierian, Pindaric, Pindaric ode, Sapphic ode, Shakespearean sonnet, Theocritean, Tom show, abbatial, abbatical, agrarian, agrestic, agricultural, airscape, alba, anacreontic, antimasque, arcadian, archiepiscopal, at peace, audience success, balada, ballad, ballade, ballet, bardic, bloodless, bomb, broadcast drama, bucolic, burlesque show, calm, campestral, canonical, canso, capitular, capitulary, chanson, charade, churchly, cityscape, clerical, clerihew, cliff hanger, closet drama, cloudscape, comedy drama, concordant, countrified, country, critical success, daytime serial, dialogue, didactic, diorama, dirge, dithyramb, dithyrambic, documentary drama, drama, dramalogue, dramatic, dramatic play, dramatic series, duodrama, duologue, ecclesiastic, ecclesiastical, eclogic, eclogue, elegiac, elegy, epic, epic theater, epigram, episcopal, episcopalian, epithalamium, epode, epopee, epopoeia, epos, evangelistic, experimental theater, exterior, extravaganza, failure, farm, farming, farmscape, flop, gasser, genuine, georgic, ghazel, giveaway, haiku, halcyon, happening, harmonious, heroic, hit, hit show, homespun, humble, idyll, idyllic, improvisational drama, inartificial, innocent, interior, jingle, landscape, legitimate drama, limerick, lowland, lyric, madrigal, masque, melodrama, ministerial, minstrel show, miracle, miracle play, mock-heroic, monodrama, monody, monologue, morality, morality play, music drama, musical revue, mystery, mystery play, narrative, narrative poem, native, natural, naturelike, nursery rhyme, ode, opera, orderly, outland, pacific, pageant, palinode, panel show, pantomime, pastoral drama, pastoral elegy, pastorela, pastourelle, peaceable, peaceful, peacetime, piece, piping, placid, play, playlet, poem, poetic, poetico-mystical, poetico-mythological, poetico-philosophic, poetlike, prelatial, prelatic, priest-ridden, priestish, priestly, problem play, prothalamium, provincial, psychodrama, quiet, quiz show, rabbinic, radio drama, restful, review, revue, rhapsodic, rhyme, riverscape, rondeau, rondel, roundel, roundelay, runic, rural, rustic, sacerdotal, sapphic, satire, scape, scene, seapiece, seascape, sensational play, serene, serial, sestina, show, simple, sitcom, situation comedy, skaldic, sketch, skit, skyscape, sloka, snowscape, soap, soap opera, sociodrama, soft, song, sonnet, sonnet sequence, spectacle, stage play, stage show, straight drama, success, suspense drama, tableau, tableau vivant, talk show, tanka, teleplay, television drama, television play, tenso, tenzone, theater of cruelty, threnody, total theater, townscape, tranquil, triolet, troubadour poem, ultramontane, unadorned, unaffected, unartificial, unassuming, uncomplicated, undesigning, undisguising, undissembling, undissimulating, unembellished, unfeigning, unpretending, unpretentious, unspoiled, untroubled, unvarnished, upland, variety show, vaudeville, vaudeville show, vehicle, verse, verselet, versicle, view, villanelle, virelay, waterscape, word-of-mouth success, work
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