Arcadia and its Transformations
The land of Arcadia is really the landscape of an idea. Arcadia is primarily the paradise of poetry. It is a middle country of the imagination, half-way between a past perfection and a present imperfection, a place of Becoming rather than Being, where an individual's potencies for the arts of life and love and poetry are explored and tested. The Arcadia known to geographers is wholly unprepossessing, an area delimited by mountains and crossed by ridges, but its olden designation as the home of Pan and its reputation for a simple rural poetry rendered it suitable for a pastoral art at various removes from reality. The assumption of the pastoral stance represents a coming to terms with complexity by retiring temporarily to a position of comparative simplicity. Evoked from a greater distance in time and space, the Arcadian landscape is necessarily for Virgil a place of lyricism arts tender sentiment, a creation of his own.