By Aaron Santesso
This booklet examines the emergence of a brand new style through the eighteenth century: the nostalgia poem. This style is healthier understood by way of reconceiving the premises of nostalgia itself, analyzing it as initially a style of idealization instead of a eager for the earlier. From the poems that make up this style, now we have derived a lot of our sleek principles and photographs of nostalgia. In tracing the background of the nostalgia poem, this e-book additionally strains a trend of "tropic change," during which a brand new style is equipped round tropes extracted from the death genres. This new style then starts generating its personal tropes; relating to the nostalgia poem, those contain idealized institution days and ruined villages. As those tropes develop into overly commonplace, the nostalgia poem style itself starts off to crumble. This e-book reevaluates poems starting from Dryden's Hastings elegy to Crabbe's "The Village", displaying how works as different as Gray's Eton university Ode, Macpherson's solid epics, and Goldsmith's "The abandoned Village" are all a part of a doomed literary scan - an test that has however decided the process sleek nostalgic proposal. Aaron Santesso is Assistant Professor of English on the collage of Nevada.
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Additional resources for A Careful Longing: The Poetics And Problems of Nostalgia
At this point, Pope’s nostalgic strategy seems a simple one: increase nostalgia by increasing the presence of pastoral—in other words, by introducing pastoral nostalgia tropes. But the use of nostalgia in the Iliad is ultimately more complex and ambitious than this simple equation, for Pope’s newly introduced idealized pastoral material must coexist with his presentation of the epic as an accurate historical document—and to do this, ironically, he must deny the very nostalgia he is covertly introducing.
26 In pastoral we find the other primary source of the tropes that become the building blocks of the nostalgia poem. Pastoral is also a naturally political genre. We saw in Dryden’s praising of Abingdon in Eleonora and critique of the laureateship in Mac Flecknoe the beginnings of an effort to use nostalgia for political purposes; seventeenth and eighteenth-century pastoral continues this effort. We see in these poems how nostalgia is not necessarily an instinctive withdrawal from the world, but often a conscious engagement with it.
No poet was able to deal with the difficulty of public elegy more effectively than Dryden, the most influential elegist of the age. Dryden’s elegies were and are less famous than his satires, but they show a solution to a poetic dilemma of his day and represent a starting point for the development of a nostalgic poetic strategy that would shape much of the poetry of the following century. Obsessed with decay and loss, Dryden’s best work was always elegiac in spirit, and his elegiac strategy depended upon a marriage of nostalgic traditions, public and private.