help my poor brain–

I can’t think of the word I need… it’s not parochial, not provencial, but has to do with that sense of innocence and ideal country life. We used it every day in RenPro, I am using it now in discussing Wordsworth. What the hell is that word?


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18 Responses to help my poor brain–

  1. Ian Keenan says:


    livin’ it here,

  2. Jessica Smith says:

    oh god, yes. thank you thank you thank you.

  3. Ian Keenan says:

    I am in the late stages of a long struggle to wedge the cartoon images of Fantasia imprinted from babysitting from the melodies of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (“Pastoral”), an erasure that there SHOULD be a cartoon grant for, so the grass on your side of the memnotic fence, grated you come to acquire a recording of what used to be my favorite work should you not have one, is greener.

  4. veintiuno says:

    aww… I was gonna guess bucolic

  5. Jessica Smith says:

    good job–you will also get a point, although i was looking for “pastoral.”

  6. Steven Fama says: (don’t leave home without it) offers as synonyms for pastoral the unusual “campestral” as well as “georgic” and “Arcadian” and “agrestic.”

    Don’t bother deciding whether these are point-worthy; I’m just trippin’.

  7. Jessica Smith says:

    The judges also would’ve accepted “arcadian” and would’ve awarded bonus points for explaining how that related to my RenPro class.

    Agrestic makes sense… I didn’t know campestral, but it also makes sense. Sounds nomadic rather than agrarian though?

  8. speterme says:

    You might want to check out Lisa Robertson’s take on “pastoral” via “The Weather” and “XEclogue.” I haven’t been able to track down her essay “How Pastoral” but I’m sure that would be a good read, too. I don’t know how “innocent” pastoral really is.

    pac, lov and understanding (nvr giv up!)

    Stv Ptrmir
    no man’s land
    minnapolis, mn
    word verification: ixcbddlx

  9. Steven Fama says:

    Well of course I remember that awhile ago — on the “old” blog maybe — you discussed and had a link to an on-line version of Sannazaro’s Arcadia which I think you were reading for your RenPro class.

    I appreciated that because I hadn’t known before then that there was an actual text in back of the term arcadia.

  10. Jessica Smith says:

    i think ginny’s the one who could explain that– i mean, i don’t know what came first, the term or the text. we were reading sidney’s arcadia.

  11. Gillian says:

    Bucolic always sounds like a word used to describe a nasty hangover to me.

  12. jason christie says:

    i’m choked. I would have thought reading Canada Post would have lodged The Pastoral in yer brain!


    word verification=xaumph (love that one.)

  13. François says:

    Oh, yeah, Jennifer Grotz and I had a talk a long time ago about why poets stopped writing pastorals.

  14. ginny says:

    oh! I happened on a topic in my area of expertise more than a day late!

    the name “Arcadia” to denote a certain kind of pastoral, classically-tinged refuge does come into heavy renaissance usage with Sannazaro in 1504, and that’s certainly where Sidney gets the inspiration for much of his use of pastoral, as well as the name of his work. (It’s Sidney’s Arcadia, not Sannazaro’s, J. and I read in RenPro.) The name itself of course refers to a greek state, often cited as the birthplace of Pan. The use of “Arcadia” to connote a certain set of pastoral/idyllic/nostalgic associations became quite common, and hasn’t ceased to flourish since.

    On the subject of pastoral itself, though (while Arcadia contributes to and is formed by notions of the pastoral genre, the words are certainly not synonymous) I’ve recently been getting into the difference the 18th c. made between pastoral and georgic. I ran up against it both in early 18th c. country house/country poems and then again in dealing with Tom Jones.

    The deal with georgic seems to be that it carries a stronger implication of social satire or political commentary, at least for someone like Addison, which is really interesting. Because we tend to look at pastoral as being inherently political, at least political in a negative sense. (I.e., political by explicitly stating its separation from politics.) In renpro, the class consensus certainly seemed to be that Sidney’s disruptions of pastoral tropes in Arcadia were largely in service to his political ends — that he calls attention to his genre in order to make it work for him socially. Or something.

    And yet, at least by the 18th c., that mode doesn’t seem to apply any longer. So I’m beginning to wonder in what way genre and politics might always be in opposition to one another. Or are they necessary partners?

    p.s.: is this for the mavillia paper?

  15. Jessica Smith says:

    gillian: yes, bucolic, it’s like the bubolic plague for factory workers?

    jason: ah! but i can never remember this word. it just won’t stick!

    steve p: sounds good, i’ve been meaning to delve into lisa’s work

    ginny: thanks for the long and thoughtful answer! (no, not for renpro, i was just writing a response for citizenship on how the pastoral is working– politically– to create/inform american citizenship in whitman’s “song of myself”)

  16. Steven Fama says:

    For bubolic do you mean bubonic?

    And thanks from me too to ginny for taking the time to put out alot about Arcadia.

  17. Jessica Smith says:

    steve, yes, thank you. by “alot” did you mean “a lot”? 😉

  18. Steven Fama says:

    I did indeed. Touché!

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