1st Edition

Imagining Arcadia in Renaissance Romance

ISBN 9780367346577
Published May 21, 2019 by Routledge
274 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

From Theocritus’ Idylls to James Cameron’s Avatar, Arcadia remains an enduring presence in world culture and a persistent source of creative inspiration. Why does Arcadia still exercise such a powerful pull on the imagination? This book responds by arguing that in sixteenth-century Europe, a dramatic shift took place in imagining Arcadia. The traditional visions of Arcadia collided and fused with romance, the new experimental form of prose fiction, producing a hybrid, dynamic world of change and transformation. Emphasizing matters of fictional function and world-making over generic classification, Imagining Arcadia in Renaissance Romance analyzes the role of romance as a catalyst in remaking Arcadia in five, canonical sixteenth-century texts: Sannazaro’s Arcadia; Montemayor’s La Diana; Cervantes’ La Galatea; Sidney’s Arcadia; and Lope de Vega’s Arcadia. Collins’ analyses of the re-imagined Arcadia in these works elucidate the interplay between timely incursions into the fictional world and the timelessness of art, highlighting issues of freedom, identity formation, subjectivity and self-fashioning, the intersection of public and private activity, and the fascination with mortality.

This book addresses the under-representation of Spanish literature in Early Modern literary histories, especially regarding the rich Spanish contribution to the pastoral and to idealizing fiction in the West. Companion chapters on Cervantes and Sidney add to the growing field of Anglo-Spanish comparative literary studies, while the book’s comparative and transnational approach extends discussion of the pastoral beyond the boundaries of national literary traditions. This book’s innovative approach to these fictional worlds sheds new light on Arcadia’s enduring presence in the collective imagination today.

Table of Contents

1. Weaving the Arcadian Tapestry 2. In the Ending is the Beginning: Sannazaro’s Arcadia (1504) 3. The Metamorphosis of Arcadia: Montemayor’s La Diana (1559) 4. Romancing Arcadia: Cervantes’ La Galatea (1585) 5. Romancing Arcadia: Sidney’s Arcadia (1590) 6. Courting Arcadia: Lope’s Arcadia (1598) Conclusion

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Marsha S. Collins is Professor of Comparative Literature and Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. She is the author of a book on the historical novels of Pío Baroja, a book on Luis de Góngora's poetic masterpiece the Soledades, and articles on Cervantes, Lope, Galdós, and Unamuno, among others. Her research focuses on the literature of Imperial Spain in a comparative context, the relationship between literature and the visual arts, and romance and other idealizing forms of fiction.


"Marsha Collins’s approach to the construction, or reconstruction, of Arcadia in the sixteenth century is fascinating and convincing. Her study presents a dynamic vision of the pastoral world and its special sensibility. The comparative analyses—of Sannazaro, Montemayor, Cervantes, Sidney, and Lope de Vega—are sound, well argued, and a pleasure to read, offering a superb complement to previous studies of the genre."Edward H. Friedman, Professor of Comparative Literature and European Studies. Vanderbilt University, USA