Pastoral: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


1st Edition

By Terry Gifford


208 pages

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pub: 1999-08-05
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Pastoral is a succinct and up-to-date introductory text to the history, major writers and critical issues of this genre. Terry Gifford clarifies the different uses of pastoral covering:

  • the history of the genre from its classical origins to Elizabethan drama, through eighteenth-century pastoral poetry to contemporary American nature writing
  • the pastoral impulse of retreat and return, beginning with constructions of Arcadia and using a combination of close reading of quoted texts, cultural studies and eco-criticism
  • post-pastoral texts with a look at writers, who Gifford argues, have discovered ways of reconnecting us with our natural environment.


'It is time to evaluate the works of literature and the environment using Gifford's powerful terms.' - Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

'A helpful guide to achieving some clarity around the terminology and the issues, and to formulating one's own response to the 'pastoral' in literature a good introduction to an important subject.' - Debjani Chatterjee, Writing in Education

'A good introduction to the contentious nature of the ideology of pastoral.' - Mr Salter, Huntingdonshire Regional College

'an innovative, vividly argued introduction to 'pastoral'' - Nicholas D. Smith, Essays in Criticism

Table of Contents

1. Three kinds of pastoral 2 Constructions of arcadia 3. The dsicourse of retreat 4. The cultural contexts of return 5. The anti-pastoral tradition 6. Post-pastoral

About the Author/Editor

Terry Gifford is Research Co-ordinator at the School of English, Bretton Hall College of Leeds University. He is author of Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry.

About the Series

The New Critical Idiom

The New Critical Idiom is an invaluable series of introductory guides designed to meet the needs of today's students grappling with the complexities of modern critical terminology. Each book in the series provides:

  • A clear, explanatory guide to the use (and abuse) of the term
  • An original and distinctive overview by a leading literary and cultural critic
  • Helpful definitions of the boundaries between the literary and non-literary
  • Basic guidance for the introductory reader in how the term relates to the larger field of cultural representation

With a strong emphasis on clarity, lively debate and the widest possible breadth of examples, The New Critical Idiom is an indispensable guide to key topics in literary studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: