Changing Landscapes
Anti-Pastoral Sentiment in the English Renaissance

Peter Lindenbaum

Golden Age poets writing against the pastoral tradition


"Lindenbaum locates the crisis of English pastoral in Protestant distrust of the contemplative life; in the fictions he considers, labor and love bring about new orders at the expense of old ones, or reveal the dynamics under the illusory facade of Arcadian stasis. In a sense Arcadia never really existed at all."
South Atlantic Review

"Lucidly, sometimes eloquently written, and judiciously argued."
Renaissance Quarterly

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In Changing Landscapes, Peter Lindenbaum reveals the growing frustration of Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, and other writers of their time with the ideal realm—the carefree Eden, the still-reigning Golden Age—that seemed to dominate pastoral poetry. Impelled by an awareness of human conflict with the world and of the forces that beleaguer from within, these writers proposed, in the guise of the pastoral, a vision of community, individual responsibility, and civic duty in a fallen world.
Page count: 248
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Peter Lindenbaum (1938-2010) was a professor of English at Indiana University. He was founder of the Indiana University History of the Book and Renaissance Studies programs.