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An Interpretation Of Matthew Arnold’s “The Scholar Gipsy” And T.S. Eliot’s “The love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock” As Anti-Pastoral
As a literary genre,”pastoral” goes back to ancient times and the earliest example of pastoral was written by the Greek poet Theocritus in the 3rd century B.C. Historically, pastoral has always been composed by poets in every age for different purposes. Although pastoral is very often regarded as a simple form of poetry about the life of shepherds and nature, its context and the meaings attributed to pastoral have enlarged throughout centuries. In the middle ages few pastoral was composed, yet it flourished as a literary genre in the Renaissance. During this period poets and dramatists tended to make use of the pastoral mode in order to underline the gradual separation between man and nature, a tendency which can also be observed in the 19th and 20th century literature. No longer a simple celebration of rural life, pastoral started to be used to draw attention to man’s exploitation of nature and his alienation from himself and other people. In this context, pastoral became a tool of criticizing the ill conditions of life and the society which prevent man from uniting with nature and living like a shepherd of traditional pastoral poems. In his poem “The Scholar Gipsy” Victorian poet Matthew Arnold reflects man’s need for imagination and innocence for leading a happy life, contrasting the life of a scholar gipsy with the life in his own age. Similarly, modern poet T. S. Eliot portrays the life of man and his helplessness in the modern age in “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Both poems portray an anti-pastoral world, where pastoral functions to show the ideal life, which has already been lost. These two poems are selected to bring a new perspective both to pastoral and anti-pastoral as literary genres as well as the poems themselves which have been studied deeply from various point of wievs.

Pastoral, anti-pastoral, pastoral poetry, Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot,

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