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The Virgilian Pastoral Tradition: From the Renaissance to the Modern Era

Nancy Lindheim

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ISBN 10: 0820703729 / ISBN 13: 9780820703725
Published by Duquesne University Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Virgilian Pastoral Tradition: From the ...

Publisher: Duquesne University Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

Contributes to the dialogue about the scope and meaning of pastoral as a genre, and a cultural and aesthetical awareness of what the term has meant in the course of Western literature. Rather than assuming that pastoral follows a course charted by previous commentators, the author revisits Virgil's eclogues.

Synopsis:

This book contributes significantly to the ongoing dialogue about the scope and meaning of pastoral as a genre, as Nancy Lindheim argues for a more culturally and aesthetically complex awareness of what the term has meant in the course of Western literature. Rather than assuming that pastoral follows a course charted by previous commentators - defined by themes of nature, love, innocence, escape, or endless happiness - Lindheim instead revisits Virgil's eclogues, the primary influence on the pastoral in subsequent literature. In doing so, Lindheim identifies seminal Virgilian themes not fully acknowledged by previous critics: human vulnerability, cosmic and political injustice, the impulse for compassion and sympathy, and the social implications of the poet's imagination. By demonstrating Virgil's eclogues as foundational, the study is able to chart how these themes inform later works, testifying to Virgil's abiding influence. Intensive readings of various texts enable Lindheim to advance her revisionist view of pastoral practice. Several chapters concentrate on Spenser and Milton, including discussions of: "The Shepheardes Calender"; "The Faerie Queene"; "Comus'; and "Lycidas".

Pastoral romance as drama, as seen in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "The Winter's Tale", is explored in two chapters, and an appendix deals with 'King Lear' as pastoral tragedy. In the book's concluding chapter, Lindheim argues for the presence of pastoral's 'transmuted afterlife' in both Wordsworth and Samuel Beckett. As Lindheim emphasises, pastoral has long suffered from the condescension of those who judge it as too narrow, too didactic, or too immature a genre. The book strives to redress this persistent imbalance in critical judgement, to influence current critical discourse concerning pastoral, and to suggest how other modern and post-modern writers may be seen as heirs of the pastoral tradition as well.

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