This period never existed, though many would like you to think so. It's that belief in Eden, in the perfect beginning, in the Beaver Cleaver 1950s.

More specifically, it is the idea of the "pastoral" or pastoralism. Originally a revival of the Greco-Roman poetry which pitted the idealized life of shepherds against the corrupting elements of city life, pastoral literature is often a type of social commentary, using the rustic world of forests and fields as a sharp contrast to and sanctuary against the corruption of the court. It first gained popularity in the Renaissance, particularly in England, where Spencer, Sidney, and Shakespeare used its themes in the late sixteenth century. For instance, Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It is not only about lovers escaping into the forest—that would be A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Instead, it is more about social hierarchy, primogeniture, and the curious androgyny of Elizabethan theatre in the figure of Rosalind/Ganymede.

Today, we escape into nostalgia for an age that never was. Call it medievalism, fantasy, or people talking about the good old days. The real world is a scary place, trying to treat each other as equals, individuals, etc. Sometimes we want to slip back into another, more simple and perfect time. Don't let them fool you--it never existed.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.