Abstract

In eighteenth-century New York, as in many other places, educated gentlemen used classical pastoral and georgic tropes to articulate their relationships with both nature and society. This essay uses the changing use of these tropes to examine the radical changes in the city's culture after midcentury. The new rhetoric of sociability marginalized both pastoral and georgic in favor of a broad mercantile vision of social interconnectedness. Pastoral rhetoric, in turn, became linked to the defense of an elite, traditionalist Loyalism, which embraced its marginalization and doomed itself to irrelevance. As Philip Freneau's experimentation with pastoral demonstrates, the continued prevalence of these tropes in American literature was nonetheless accompanied by their separation from this social context.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 581-602
Launched on MUSE
2009-07-11
Open Access
No
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