It was many decades ago that Greek philologists noticed the value of the works Πιστικός Βοσκός and Ποιμήν Πιστός, which were translations of the Italian pastoral tragicomedy Pastor Fido of Giambatista Guarini. The original work was a controversial, much published and translated drama, whose influence, both within and beyond Italy, was well known to Greek scholars.
To the previous researches of Greek philologists we owe our first contact with Greek translations; however, these works do not enlighten us on the depth of the literary concerns which were provoked by the original. This paper discusses the structure of the Greek translations in relation to the translators’ aesthetic and poetic sensibilities. All the remarks are based on the comparison of Greek plays with the original and on the recent studies of the influence of Pastor Fido on Italian and French literature.
The main points driving literary criticism of Guarini’s drama were its morality, the unity of the play’s plot and the matter of its style (whether it was appropriate or not for the stage). The way the Greeks worked on their versions of Pastor Fido testifies that they were affected by the foreign criticism.
The thoughts of translators on dramatic poetry, lying basically in the structure of their plays, allow us to conclude that Pastor Fido was translated (twice) into our language with different aesthetic criteria. Standing between traditional principles and progressive ideas for dramaturgy, Guarini’s work gave Greeks, as well as Italian and French critics, the opportunity to display their conservatism or progressiveness.
The two Greek translations of Pastor Fido reveal yet another story of the impact of the Italian spirit on Greek intellectuals; it is a story about the memories preserved in our culture of the great literary controversy over the tragicomic genre (the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns), which occurred in Italy at the end of the 16th century.