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Poetics and Politics of Place in Pastoral

International Perspectives

Edited By Bénédicte Chorier-Fryd, Charles Holdefer and Thomas Pughe

In a time of global environmental crisis, pastoralism may seem beside the point. Yet pastoral ideals are still alive even though they often manifest themselves by ironic indirection. What can the pastoral tradition teach us about our ties to particular places?
The contributors to this volume attempt to lay the groundwork for the ongoing concern with pastoral and with its critical revision.
This volume brings together new essays that focus on painting, photography, poetry, essay, fiction and film, from the Renaissance to the present. They also take into account an astonishing variety of pastoral places, in Europe, Africa, and North America; country and city; suburbia and industrial zones.
Poetics and Politics of Place in Pastoral is not only about reassessing the past, but also provides a sense of future developments as the pastoral reinvents itself for the 21 st century.
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“The Savage’s Romance”: The Culture of Pastoral in the Poetry of Marianne Moore


If an ingeniously constructed, intricate little piece of machinery, a dainty little thing with cogs and wheels and flashes of iron and steel, should suddenly be given a human voice to pour its “soul” into song – to transmute itself into a “poem” – it would stand revealed as a bit of writing by Miss Moore (Sanders 92).

With Miss Moore, a word is a word most when it is separated out by science, treated with acid to remove the smudges, washed, dried and placed right side up on a clean surface (Williams 128).

Early comments written about the emerging poetry of Marianne Moore remind us that, from the outset, her work was associated with technology, engineering or science. Such readings have been reaffirmed in recent works, such as Lisa Steinman’s Made in America: Science, Technology and American Modernist Poets (1987) or Victoria Bazin’s Marianne Moore and the Cultures of Modernism (2010). Indeed, her writings commonly appear as the archetypal expression of the city and its modern productions, an aesthetic she explicitly cultivated, devoting entire poems to the achievements of the Brooklyn Bridge in “Granite and Steel”1 or to the “Four Quartz Crystal Clocks” (CP 115–116) of the American Telegraph and Telephone building in New York. Focusing on the urban world and its fashions, buildings, museums, cinemas or zoos, Moore seems to have both embraced and criticized commercial and industrial America, in order to show how modern precision, movement, and rapidity could help create...

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