Introduction: Pastoral Echoes in the Forest of Literary History
In classical Latin, silua (“forest”) is a figure for literary history. The echoes in this forest are in turn figures for reception—the handing down and reworking of literary material. We decided on “Pastoral Echoes” as the title for this special section of Colloquy because “echoes” evokes the kind of spatio-temporal relations we see in the essays collected here. While echoes have a source they are not continuous with that source; they have a peculiarly disjunctive relation to their origin, which implies a particular time and space, but which cannot necessarily be inferred from the echoes themselves. Here seven literary critics and one poet speak the word
“pastoral” into the forest of literary history, producing vastly different echoes from the same word. That the concept of pastoral preserves the semblance of unity despite its myriad translations across time and space is, we believe, aptly described by the echo. Accordingly, all these essays are written with a concern for both the similarities and the differences that relate and disjoin their respective texts to and from the history of pastoral literature.