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Montemayor’s Diana and Pastoral Fiction
With Graeco-Latin origins in Theocritus and Virgil and elements of Petrarch, the modern version of the return to the ideal country was typified in scenes from Sannazaro’s Arcadia and in the poems of Garcilaso de Vega during the Renaissance. As Professor Juan Montero explains, the first pastoral novel was Diana (1558-1559) by the Portuguese novelist and poet Jorge de Montemayor, who wrote almost exclusively in Spanish, and around 25 years later Cervantes began his career with La Galatea (1585), a work that inherited and reworked features including the disorderly coexistence of plots and subplots, open ending or the presence of an alter ego in the work from this model. Unsatisfied with the results of this “narrative laboratory”, Cervantes never actually wrote the second part that he had announced, but he breathed new life into the genre in the pastoral episodes of Don Quixote.
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