chapter  6
1 Pages

Conclusion

ByPeter V. Marinelli

What will succeed to child-cult as a version of pastoral, no one has yet told us, but the pace of modem life is accelerating so greatly that the pace of literature is bound to be affected as well. If the child has half as long a literary life as the shepherd, he will be remarkable. Publishers continue, however, almost daily to announce new novels, new memoirs of childhood, and there is no fear that the fashion will end, or that one version of pastoral at least will not be with us for some time to come. Considering the spoliation of nature which our age is accomplishing to such an extent that the capacity of the life processes to continue in our time are daily being questioned, it is fortunate, perhaps, that the child has taken over the role of the shepherd. Residing in a definite landscape, the shepherd needed an external world of lovely fresh nature in which to appear; residing only in time, the child can survive as an emblem of innocence without it. As the evidence of a deep-rooted instinct for perfection, pastoral will survive even in this age of unthought-of horrors, perhaps flourish because of it. The descent to an age of plastic was something not contemplated by the ancients, who stopped at iron.