The dream of Arcadia—a longing for a Golden Age—has haunted the collective imagination of the Western world for centuries. From antiquity well into the twentieth century, poets, playwrights, composers, painters, and sculptors have fantasized about a marvelous region, named for a less than idyllic part of Greece, a place of peace and harmony where nymphs and shepherds mingled with gods and demi-gods, singing, writing poetry, gathering flowers, tending their flocks, and falling happily and unhappily in and out of love. In the ancient world, Theocritus and Hesiod announced the great themes of the Arcadian myth in Greek, while, considerably later, Virgil’s Eclogues did the same in Latin, and, still later, Ovid reprised many of these motifs, in his Metamorphoses. The hillside villa where Giovanni Boccaccio’s idlers retreated to escape the plague, in the Decameron, was a kind of Arcadia, updated for the Renaissance....

 
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