The genre of the pastoral has a distinguished ancestry, emerging recognizably in ancient Greece in the form of Theocritus’s Idylls, and in Roman times with Virgil’s Eclogues. These poems about bucolic shepherds lamenting the refusal of their ladyloves (for the most part, city-based) to heed their protestations of love had a country setting, and formed a lasting tradition that continues to this day, with varied re-inflections. We could trace parallel traditions in literatures across the world, where the idealization of country folk and their environs is marked, though in some of the most interesting pastoral poetry, a darker tone may prevail, as the countryside is itself revealed to have a canker eating at its soul. This may, in time, have provided the basis for anti-pastoral writing, often in prose form, which relentlessly debunks the easy romanticization of the idyllic rural ambience.1 Sadly, for many urban dwellers, Goa has become exactly that, a convenient repository of pastoral fantasies that are inevitably set up for a fall.
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