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Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry : Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics - Ann Marie Mikkelsen

Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

Hardcover Published: 26th January 2011
ISBN: 9780230105836
Number Of Pages: 244

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Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry argues that pastoral has remained a significant mode in modern American poetry, often as a means of talking about who the ideal self or poet should be and how the poet fits into the larger national community. Influenced by the work of William James and John Dewey, Ann Mikkelsen deftly argues that the “pragmatic pastoral” mode depicts a transitory, evolving, experimental state of being rather than a static, ironic, or nostalgic worldview. By re-evaluating relationships between the poet and the people, the poem and life experience, this book demonstrates that these pastorals reflect the ethical dilemmas of a society in flux.

"Inspired by the idea of reading the work of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, John Ashbery, and Gertrude Stein through a lens borrowed from their philosophic contemporaries, the founders of pragmatism William James and John Dewey, Mikkelsen greatly heightens our appreciation of the intellectual power and significance of America's esteemed twentieth-century pastoral poetry." - Leo Marx, Professor Emeritus of American Cultural History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



"Finding the pastoral in the 'frontier rhetoric' of American social science and literature and interpreting pragmatism as a 'pioneering philosophy,' Mikkelsen traces crucial and heretofore unexplored intersections between pastoral and pragmatist aesthetic and ethical ideas . . . Combining deft intellectual-historical overviews with rich analysis of important texts, Mikkelsen grounds, defines, and suggests the significance of a pragmatic pastoral poetics and offers some of the most absorbing discussions of Frost, Williams, and Stevens I have recently read." - Michael Thurston, Professor of English and Director of American Studies Program, Smith College



"Mikkelsen has put the politics back in American pastoral, and has extended the purview of the pastoral project to critical twentieth-century themes . . . Mikkelsen reminds us that American pastoral's core function is not escape or nostalgia but interrogation of cultural norms and modeling of new modes of being in the world and in community. Reading a diverse group of poets from Frost to Susan Howe, Mikkelsen provides, through her analysis of pastoral, a new understanding of the continuity of American poetry." - Bonnie Costello, author of Shifting Ground: Reinventing Landscape in Modern American Poetry and Planets on Tables: Poetry, Still Life, and the Turning World

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Pastoral Ideology and the Pragmatic Responsep. 21
Tramp Culture and the Cult of Pan: Robert Frost's Pastoral of Class Mobilityp. 39
"The Truth About Us": Pastoral, Pragmatism, and William Carlos Williams's Patersonp. 67
"Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat!": Wallace Stevens's Figurations of Masculinityp. 93
"The Mooring of Starting Out": John Ashbery's Pastoral Originsp. 123
Conclusion: Late Twentieth-Century Pastoral: Gertrude Stein, Lyn Hejinian, Lisa Robertson, and the Continuity of a Modep. 151
Notesp. 175
Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780230105836
ISBN-10: 0230105831
Series: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 244
Published: 26th January 2011
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 2.03
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1