What Is Pastoral?

Paperback | June 1, 1997

byPaul Alpers

not yet rated|write a review
One of the enduring traditions of Western literary history, pastoral is often mischaracterized as a catchall for literature about rural themes and nature in general. In What Is Pastoral?, distinguished literary historian Paul Alpers argues that pastoral is based upon a fundamental fiction—that the lives of shepherds or other socially humble figures represent the lives of human beings in general.

Ranging from Virgil's Eclogues to Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Hardy and Frost, this work brings the story of the pastoral tradition, previously limited to classical and Renaissance literature, into the twentieth century. Pastoral reemerges in this account not as a vehicle of nostalgia for some Golden Age, nor of escape to idyllic landscapes, but as a mode bearing witness to the possibilities and problems of human community and shared experience in the real world.

A rich and engrossing book, What Is Pastoral? will soon take its place as the definitive study of pastoral literature.

"Alpers succeeds brilliantly. . . . [He] offers . . . a wealth of new insight into the origins, development, and flowering of the pastoral."—Ann-Maria Contarino, Renaissance Quarterly

Pricing and Purchase Info

$38.30

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From Our Editors

One of the enduring traditions of Western literary history, pastoral is often mischaracterized as a catchall for literature about rural themes and nature in general. In What Is Pastoral? distinguished literary historian Paul Alpers argues that pastoral is based upon a fundamental fiction - that the lives of shepherds or other socially ...

From the Publisher

One of the enduring traditions of Western literary history, pastoral is often mischaracterized as a catchall for literature about rural themes and nature in general. In What Is Pastoral?, distinguished literary historian Paul Alpers argues that pastoral is based upon a fundamental fiction—that the lives of shepherds or other socially h...

From the Jacket

One of the enduring traditions of Western literary history, pastoral is often mischaracterized as a catchall for literature about rural themes and nature in general. In What Is Pastoral? distinguished literary historian Paul Alpers argues that pastoral is based upon a fundamental fiction - that the lives of shepherds or other socially ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:444 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:June 1, 1997Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226015173

ISBN - 13:9780226015170

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of What Is Pastoral?

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Frequently Cited Works
Prologue
1: Representative Anecdotes and Ideas of Pastoral
2: Mode and Genre
3: Pastoral Convention
4: Representative Shepherds
5: Pastoral Speakers
6: Pastoral Lyrics and Their Speakers
7: Modern Pastoral Lyricism
8: Pastoral Narration
9: Pastoral Novels
Index

From Our Editors

One of the enduring traditions of Western literary history, pastoral is often mischaracterized as a catchall for literature about rural themes and nature in general. In What Is Pastoral? distinguished literary historian Paul Alpers argues that pastoral is based upon a fundamental fiction - that the lives of shepherds or other socially humble figures represent the lives of human beings in general. Ranging from Virgil's Eclogues to Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Wordsworth, Hardy, and Frost, this work brings the story of the pastoral tradition, previously limited to classical and Renaissance literature, into the twentieth century. Pastoral reemerges in this account not as a vehicle of nostalgia for some Golden Age, nor of escape to idyllic landscapes, but as a means of dealing with the loss, decline, and deprivation that motivate pastoral, and of maintaining a sense of human community despite these woes. Alpers argues that the heart of literary pastoral is the representation of herdsmen and their lives. Pastora