Experimental pastoralisms in O’Brien and Taggart
At the beginning of William Empson’s 1935 landmark study Some Versions of Pastoral, he declares: “It is hard for an Englishman to talk definitely about proletarian art, because in England it has never been a genre with settled principles, and such as there is of it, that I have seen, is bad … my suspicion, as I shall try to make clear, is that it is liable to a false limitation.” Three things are interesting to me in this passage: first, that the pastoral is suggested as an historically unsettled term, a term potential of contingency and resistance; second, that the pastoral is identified as, or can be seen to have evolved into a proletarian literature, or vice versa — “I think good proletarian art is usually Covert Pastoral,” says Empson (6) — and third, that this evolution is prone to a “false limit” that can be used well or poorly.
"Exquisitely marginal, folded into place, and revelatory"
Introductory note to a resurgent ecopoetics post-conference ‘Plenary’
“The feral lives among us almost as if it belongs” (331), writes ecocritic Anne Milne in the course of arguing for the value of a feral bioregionalism.