Catalogue


What else is pastoral? : Renaissance literature and the environment /
Ken Hiltner.
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2011.
description
x, 189 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0801449405 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801449406 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2011.
isbn
0801449405 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801449406 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
The nature of art -- What else is pastoral? -- What else was pastoral in the Renaissance? -- Pastoral and ideology, and the environment -- Representing air pollution in early modern London -- Environmental protest literature of the Renaissance -- Empire, the environment, and the growth of georgic.
catalogue key
7602520
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [175]-186) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-10-01:
Taking up the topic of the "pastoral" in English Renaissance writing, this interesting book considers the extent to which landscape representations may be understood as literal and physical rather than exclusively figurative. Hiltner (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) proposes that landscape images such as moors, hills, fields, crags, and vistas refer to actual, rather than metaphoric, English countryside, and that such images serve a more direct function than the tropes of culture and politics that conventional literary criticism has almost universally assumed. Awareness of marked changes in the landscape during the 16th and 17th centuries, as London expanded and modern concerns such as deforestation and pollution emerged, informs the poems' expressed appreciation for the natural environment in the face of absence, Hiltner finds. Seven brief chapters, divided into two sections ("Literary Issues" and "Environmental Problems"), examine such topics as representation, epistemology and ideology, protest, and empire in dozens of sampled texts ranging from Virgil's Eclogues to Milton's Paradise Lost. Though relatively brief, this book--with its self-identified "green" perspective--effectively complements more conventional titles (e.g., Annabel Patterson's Pastoral and Ideology, CH, Oct'88, 26-0744) and offers new and invigorating ways of thinking about Renaissance pastoral. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. C. S. Cox University of Pittsburgh
Reviews
Review Quotes
"I read What Else Is Pastoral? with interest, respect, and pleasure. Intelligent and well informed, it is a valuable contribution to a rapidly emerging area of cultural studies. Ken Hiltner looks hard at literature and history and produces thereby some fresh perspectives on literary texts and environmental history alike."-Robert N. Watson, Distinguished Professor of English, UCLA
"This book is a fresh departure from the long critical tradition that reads the pastoral figuratively or as a stock convention. For Hiltner, the pastoral in Renaissance England is . . . a form of nature writing . . . [and] reflects real environmental crises in and around London, fraught issues that sparked debates and influenced literature across different forms and genres. . . . Hiltner has made a valuable contribution to both early modern studies and ecocriticism."-Lowell Duckert, Sixteenth Century Journal (Fall 2012)
"What Else Is Pastoral?, notable for its theoretical sophistication and breadth of reference, is worthwhile precisely because it is humble enough to take representations of the countryside as actually being about the countryside first. Yes, these representations occur in cultural discourses with political implications, but the implications are grounded, literally, in concerns of the earth. Ken Hiltner reads pastoral as about humankind's relationship to the natural world. In What Else Is Pastoral?, he establishes a versatile theoretical basis from which to address Renaissance nature writing and ends with case studies that convincingly establish a payoff."-John P. Rumrich, Arthur J. Thaman and Wilhelmina Doré Thaman Professor of English, The University of Texas at Austin
"What is fascinating about What Else is Pastoral? is the way it tracks the gestation of one of the most pressing issues: how do we represent those processes and activities that our society can live neither with nor without? Hiltner challenges environmentally minded critics who focus on 'wilderness and nature' without accounting for the 'dynamic whereby we become conscious of the countryside and the earth.' . . . Hiltner's book does not overplay the relevance to contemporary ecological issues. Even so, the analogues are compelling, especially when he takes us over to Ireland to investigate the centrality of land to a postcolonial perspective."-Times Literary Supplement (11 November 2011)
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2011
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Ken Hiltner takes a fresh look at pastoral, offering an environmentally minded reading that reconnects poems with literal landscapes, not just figurative ones.
Main Description
Pastoral was one of the most popular literary forms of early modern England. Inspired by classical and Italian Renaissance antecedents, writers from Ben Jonson to John Beaumont and Abraham Cowley wrote in idealized terms about the English countryside. It is often argued that the Renaissance pastoral was a highly figurative mode of writing that had more to do with culture and politics than with the actual countryside of England. For decades now literary criticism has had it that in pastoral verse, hills and crags and moors were extolled for their metaphoric worth, rather than for their own qualities. In What Else Is Pastoral? Ken Hiltner takes a fresh look at pastoral, offering an environmentally minded reading that reconnects the poems with literal landscapes, not just figurative ones. Considering the pastoral in literature from Virgil and Petrarch to Jonson and Milton, Hiltner proposes a new ecocritical approach to these texts. We only become truly aware of our environment, he explains, when its survival is threatened. As London expanded rapidly during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the city and surrounding rural landscapes began to look markedly different. Hiltner finds that Renaissance writers were acutely aware that the countryside they had known was being lost to air pollution, deforestation, and changing patterns of land use; their works suggest this new absence of nature through their appreciation for the scraps that remained in memory or in fact. A much-needed corrective to the prevailing interpretation of pastoral poetry, What Else Is Pastoral? shows the value of reading literature with an ecological eye.
Main Description
Pastoral was one of the most popular literary forms of early modern England. Inspired by classical and Italian Renaissance antecedents, writers from Ben Jonson to John Beaumont and Abraham Cowley wrote in idealized terms about the English countryside. It is often argued that the Renaissance pastoral was a highly figurative mode of writing that had more to do with culture and politics than with the actual countryside of England. For decades now literary criticism has had it that in pastoral verse, hills and crags and moors were extolled for their metaphoric worth, rather than for their own qualities. In What Else Is Pastoral?, Ken Hiltner takes a fresh look at pastoral, offering an environmentally minded reading that reconnects the poems with literal landscapes, not just figurative ones. Considering the pastoral in literature from Virgil and Petrarch to Jonson and Milton, Hiltner proposes a new ecocritical approach to these texts. We only become truly aware of our environment, he explains, when its survival is threatened. As London expanded rapidly during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the city and surrounding rural landscapes began to look markedly different. Hiltner finds that Renaissance writers were acutely aware that the countryside they had known was being lost to air pollution, deforestation, and changing patterns of land use; their works suggest this new absence of nature through their appreciation for the scraps that remained in memory or in fact. A much-needed corrective to the prevailing interpretation of pastoral poetry, What Else Is Pastoral? shows the value of reading literature with an ecological eye.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Literary Issues
The Nature of Artp. 19
What Else Is Pastoral?p. 34
What Else Was Pastoral in the Renaissance?p. 49
Pastoral and Ideology, and the Environmentp. 67
Environmental Problems
Representing Air Pollution in Early Modern Londonp. 95
Environmental Protest Literature of the Renaissancep. 125
Empire, the Environment, and the Growth of Georgicp. 156
Select Bibliographyp. 175
Indexp. 187
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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