Pastoral, landscape, place…
in Disclosed poetics
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Traditionally, pastoral worked as a vehicle of empowerment for the educated classes through the idyllicising and, most often, the romanticising of the rural world. The pastoral is not really about nature, except insofar as it is about landscape, the mediation of nature through human interference and control. A critical language is deployed to discuss these issues, which in a sense becomes part of the pastoral construct itself, so that pastoral is about the language of presentation as much as about the language of place. Terms such as ‘pathetic fallacy’ become in this context a self-conscious critique of the anthropomorphising of place and nature, yet pathetic fallacy is itself one of the weapons of pastoral. Pastoral has always been about the tensions within morality, and a moral guidebook for behaviour. Another concern is gender – is the pastoral a patriarchal tool? The idyllicism of the pastoral juxtaposed to the loss of alternative idylls becomes a mirror of oppression, and potentially liberation. Parrots in Australian poetry have a bad reputation.

Disclosed poetics

Beyond landscape and lyricism

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