The Virgilian Pastoral Tradition: From the Renaissance to the Modern EraNancy Lindheim $70.00
Published in 2005 | 378 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0372-5
“Lindheim's deep understanding and sympathy for her texts cannot be doubted, and whatever the reader's critical predilections, this book certainly proves that 'Pastoral is a tool to think with.'” — Sixteenth Century Journal
“This book performs important critical work by identifying and exploring pastoral not as a place or phase but as an ages-old ethos and style of living and writing.” — Renaissance Quarterly
“Readers will find that her book is as well written as it is thoughtfully considered.” — University of Toronto Quarterly
The Virgilian Pastoral Tradition 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 Literary Studies. 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 Literary Studies. 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. As Lindheim emphasizes, pastoral has long suffered from the condescension of those who judge it as too narrow, too didactic, or too immature a genre. The Virgilian Pastoral Tradition strives to redress this persistent imbalance in critical judgment, to influence current critical discourse concerning pastoral, and to suggest how other modern and postmodern writers may be seen as heirs of the pastoral tradition as well.
NANCY LINDHEIM is professor emerita of English, having retired from the University of Toronto in 2002. Her other publications include The Structures of Sidney's Arcadia.