10. Shepherding Culture and the Romantic Pastoral

  1. Charles Mahoney Associate Professor of English
  1. John Bugg Assistant Professor

Published Online: 3 MAY 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch10

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

How to Cite

Bugg, J. (2010) Shepherding Culture and the Romantic Pastoral, in A Companion to Romantic Poetry (ed C. Mahoney), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch10

Editor Information

  1. University of Connecticut, USA

Author Information

  1. Fordham University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 MAY 2012
  2. Published Print: 26 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405135542

Online ISBN: 9781444390650



  • shepherding culture and the Romantic pastoral;
  • Britain, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - interest in economic and political significance of the sheep and wool trades;
  • writers, interested in pastoral literature - mode that traditionally issued idealized scenes of shepherd life borrowed from ancient Greek poetry;
  • inclined to craft realistic depictions of daily workings - shepherding trade in their own country;
  • pastoral, comic or elegiac - in local details or fantastical;
  • Stephen Parrish, Stuart Curran and others - pastoral divide, from classical era into eighteenth century, and beyond;
  • Wordsworth's pastoral poetry, tradition of Theocritus - participating in the mode's growing realism;
  • pastoral, on Wordsworth's mind early and late - in “Essay, Supplementary to the Preface”;
  • Wordsworth, working on poems about shepherds-in-crisis - as “The Last of the Flock,” The Anti-Jacobin running parodies of sentimental poetry;
  • subterraneous music - In “The Last of the Flock,” Wordsworth limned a union between shepherd and poet


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • For the Improvement of British Wool

  • Counting Sheep

  • Subterraneous Music

  • References and Further Reading