This is a seminar on the continuing genre of pastoral. We will begin with Theocritus and classical examples of pastoral and selected examples of Renaissance poems and dramas on pastoral themes. Then we will turn to the eighteenth century’s interest in reviving pastoral, looking at the practice and theory of pastoral during this period and its eventual contribution to Romanticism and the development of the imaginative world of the 19th century novel. In the last part of the course we will consider the endurance of pastoral forms and pastoral values in modern and post-modern works. We will be asking questions about the experience of time in pastoral, the development of erotic and elegiac forms under pastoral themes, the place of pastoral in nostalgic and utopian thought, and the contribution of pastoral to concepts of the ethical and the aesthetic in literary history.
Our primary readings will be:Theocritus’ First Idyll; Virgil, 10th Eclogue; selections from Virgil's Georgics; Philip Sidney, “Ye Goatherd Gods; Shakespeare's “As You Like It”; Milton, Lycidas; Anne Finch, “A Nocturnal Reverie”; James Thomson,The Seasons; John Dyer, selections from The Fleece; Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard; William Cowper, The Task; George Crabbe, “The Borough”; William Wordsworth, selected poems; John Clare selected poems and nature writing; George Eliot,Silas Marner; Thomas Hardy, selected poems and Far From the Madding Crowd; Miklos Radnoti, eclogues; Robert Frost, selected poems; John Kinsella, selected poems; Tacita Dean, "Banewl".” Theoretical works will include: Joseph Addison "An Essay on Virgil's Georgics"”; Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson, essays on pastoral poetry; William Gilpin, “"On Picturesque Beauty"; William Empson,Some Versions of Pastoral; Martin Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art", Building, Dwelling, Thinking"; Raymond Williams, The Country and the Cityz; Paul Alpers, What is Pastoral?; Michel Serres, The Natural Contract.
Graduate students are responsible for weekly response papers, two informal presentations of the class readings, and a final paper or research proposal of 15-20 pages.
Fulfills 2 & 5 requirements.