Chapter

A Language that is Ever Green

Stephen J. Ross

in Invisible Terrain

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780198798385
Published online July 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191839405 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198798385.003.0003

Series: Oxford English Monographs

A Language that is Ever Green

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This chapter examines Ashbery’s mediation of the pastoral tradition in his work of the 1960s and 1970s. If Ashbery rejects the sentimental trappings of pastoral—with its promise of reparation in “the good place” of nature—he remains committed to the liberatory logic which the pastoral traditionally enshrines. The pastoral master trope of “wandering away” helps Ashbery negotiate problems of authenticity, subjectivity, and political commitment in the Vietnam era. Ashbery manages these challenges by pluralizing the lyric speaker in poems such as “A Blessing in Disguise” and “Evening in the Country” and by writing powerfully against the pastoral tradition in his “necropastoral” anti-masterpiece of camp disaffection, The Vermont Notebook.

Keywords: pastoral; subjectivity; authenticity; lyric; camp

Chapter.  12323 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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