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What Else Is Pastoral?Renaissance Literature and the Environment$
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Ken Hiltner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449406

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449406.001.0001

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What Else Was Pastoral in the Renaissance?

What Else Was Pastoral in the Renaissance?

(p.49) 3 What Else Was Pastoral in the Renaissance?
What Else Is Pastoral?

Ken Hiltner

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores in detail how pastoral works often avoid mimesis by first considering how certain works of architecture make little attempt at presenting an image of their surrounding environments. Early modern London, for example, did not reveal its adjoining countryside by working like a painting, mimetically providing a portrait of its surroundings. Rather, because it made such a striking contrast to the countryside on which it encroached, London not only caused that countryside to emerge into appearance, it deeply impacted how the countryside appeared to individuals aesthetically engaged by what had appeared (emerged into awareness). Pointing away from themselves to the countryside, such works act gesturally, rather than representationally, in facilitating the appearance of the environment—and, in the bargain, fostering an environmental consciousness in those to whom it appears. Ben Jonson takes up this phenomenon in “To Penshurst,” exploring how a poem, like a work of architecture, can reveal much about its surrounding environment that had not been apparent before, yet in a way that is not principally representational.

Keywords:   Renaissance pastoral, pastoral works, mimesis, architecture, early modern London, Ben Jonson

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