What Else Is Pastoral?

What Else Is Pastoral?

by Ken Hiltner

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A corrective to the prevailing interpretation of pastoral poetry that shows the value of reading literature ecologically.See more details below


A corrective to the prevailing interpretation of pastoral poetry that shows the value of reading literature ecologically.

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"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 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)

"For Hiltner a preoccupation with mimesis as the defining element of nature writing has blinded ecocritics to 'what else is pastoral in the Renaissance.' Chapters on ‘Air Pollution in Early Modern London’ and ‘Environmental Protest Literature of the Renaissance’ lead to ‘Empire, the Environment, and the Growth of the Georgic’. The latter, in particular, is typical of the radical rethinking demanded by . . . [this] challenging extension of ecocritical achievement."—Terry Gifford, Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism (2012)

"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

"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

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Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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