Download British Labouring-Class Nature Poetry, 1730-1837 by B. Keegan PDF

By B. Keegan

This research indicates how poets labored inside of and opposed to the on hand different types of nature writing to problem their position inside actual, political, and cultural landscapes. the therapy of alternative ecosystems, it argues that writing in regards to the surroundings allowed labouring-class poets to discover very important social and aesthetic questions.

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Sample text

Rooks and crows are not as inherently adorable as lambs, and the ‘us or them’ stakes are clearer and more short-term. But what the poem teaches is that we must see beyond a particular moment in time and balance aesthetic joys against other needs. This may be difficult to do with fluffy lambs, but ‘Spring’ gives way to ‘Summer’ and lambs become sheep with bigger appetites that will need to be fed. Spare the lambs, spoil the farm. Historian Donald Worster has pointed out the term ecology did not exist until the nineteenth century.

Also in 1802, William Holloway responded to Bloomfield with the long poem, The Peasant’s Fate: A Rural Poem. Like Service, Holloway (who later developed a friendship with Bloomfield and his brother George) states more polemically the themes that Bloomfield explores. His approach is also more nostalgic, and his extended critique of luxury demonstrates Goldsmith’s influence as Holloway acknowledges in the preface. 42 In this passage, Holloway is less interested in the relationship with nature and more interested in the land as a space of contention between the rights of rich and poor, elaborating the critique that Bloomfield had placed in the mouth of the ‘mourner’ at the conclusion of ‘Summer’.

Very early in the poem, then, Bloomfield evokes an interaction with the environment that is not strictly visual. Much of the recent work on theories of the picturesque in this period has shown that the eye is predominantly associated with the consumption of rural scene. 28 One doesn’t hear or smell quite so well from the vantage of those grander prospects. Bloomfield’s poem moves in closer, allowing the reader to hear and breathe the experience of the farm. In some sense, then, he brings the reader ‘closer to nature’, but such claims should be made cautiously.

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