Arcadian Visions: Pastoral Influences on Poetry, Painting and the Design of Landscape [Hardback]

Allan R. Ruff (Author)

ISBN: 9781909686663 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2015 | Language: English 288p, H246 x W185 (mm) b/w and colour illustrations

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Arcadian Visions


This book is about Arcadia and the pastoral tradition; what it has meant for successive generations and their vision of the landscape, as well as the implications this has had for its design and management. Today the concept of Arcadia, and way it has shaped our landscape, is dimly perceived and little understood by landscape architects and those responsible for the management of land. This is in marked contrast to previous centuries when the vision of Arcadia and the pastoral was implanted by education among the more privileged in society. Young men spent many hours translating and learning by rote the words of Virgil and other classical authors and on the Grand Tour they would be introduced to work of painters like Poussin and Claude and their interpretations of the Ideal pastoral landscape. Today Arcadia holds as powerful an influence as at any time in the past and it is important that we plan our urban environment in ways that harmonise with the natural world.

Arcadian Visions provides an alternative landscape history for all those involved with the landscape - either through its design, management, use or enjoyment. It begins by examining the origins of Arcadia and the pastoral in the classical poetry of Theocritus and Virgil, and the effects of, and on, Christianity before outlining its development in renaissance Italy and subsequently in the Netherlands, America and England. It concludes by looking at how arcadian ecology is bringing about a re-appraisal of the pastoral in the 21st century.

Table of Contents


1. The Classical Origins of Arcadia
Arcadia - the reality and the myth
The City of Alexandria
Virgil and his formative years
Virgil’s philosophy
The Eclogues
The Georgics
Arcadia and the Pastoral
Notes and References

2. Virgil: the house, garden and landscape
Landscape and the Romans
The Location and Layout of the Villa Urbana
Notes and References

3. The Christian World and Arcadia
Virgil and Christianity
Petrarch - the prophet of the new age
Petrarch’s Garden
Petrarch and Virgil
Florence and the Medici’s
Lorenzo the Magnificent
Notes and References

4. Venice and the Pastoral Landscape
Giovanni Bellini
Giorgione and the Concert Champetre
Notes and References

5. Rome and the Pastoral Landscape
The Borghese and the villa borghese
Villa Mondragone and the Pastoral Image
Claude Lorrain
The Grand Tourists
Notes and References

6. The Dutch Republic and the Golden Age of Landscape
The Treaty of Utrecht and its aftermath
The Response to Change
Literature and Painting
The Landscape in Poetry
Country Houses and Estates
Hofdichten Poetry and the garden
Nostalgia and a new Realism
Rembrandt - the master of naturalism
Notes and References

7. Changes to the Pastoral Vision in 18c England
The third Earl of Shaftesbury
Joseph Addison - the natural landscape
The Kit Kat Club and the Pastoral Debate
The Pastoral as a critique
Addison and the natural garden
Notes and References

8. Arcadia and the Pastoral Landscape realized
Lord Burlington
James Thomson
The Seasons and the Georgic landscape
William Kent and Rousham
MacClary’s tour of the garden
Notes and References

9. The Happy Rural Life
William Shenstone and the Leasowes
The Circuit Walk and Virgil’s Grove
Reactions to the Leasowes
Aristocratic Resurgence
Joshua Reynolds and Landscape Taste
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown
A Changing Mood
Notes and References

The Coming of The Picturesque and the Romantics
The Picturesque and the Reverend William Gilpin
Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight
William Wordsworth and the Picturesque
Wordsworth and the hard Pastoral
Michael - a pastoral poem
John Constable and the soft Pastoral
A National Icon
Notes and References

The Pastoral Vision and the American Dream
Early Arrivals
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson’s Pastoral vision
Emerson and the Transcendentalists
Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond
Thoreau and nature
John Muir and preservation of wilderness
Notes and References

12. America and Religious Pastoral
A New Aesthetic
Frederic Law Olmsted and Frederic Cole - the early years
Olmsted’s Aesthetics of Landscape Scenery
A Change in Direction
The Campaign for Public Parks
Central Park, New York
The Final Years
Notes and References

Ruskin, Morris and the Garden City
The Middle Classes and the pastoral resurgence
John Ruskin
William Morris and the Arts and Craft movement
Morris and socialism
News from Nowhere
Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City
Letchworth Garden City
The Development of the Garden Suburb
Notes and References

The First World War and Pastoral Visions of England
A. E. Houseman
The Georgian Poets
Edward Thomas
The First World War - a literary war
Edmund Blunden
War Graves - a pastoral setting
A last hurrah for the Georgian Poets
Notes and References

Modernism and anti-pastoral landscape
T.S.Eliot and the Imagists
The Modern Movement
Piet Mondrian
Cornelis van Eesteren
The Amsterdam Bos Park
Le Corbusier and the Villa Savoie
Christopher Tunnard and Bentley Wood
Notes and References

The Workers’ Pastoral
The Rev. T. A. Leonard and the Co-operative Holiday Association
The Influence of the CHA
The Right to Roam
Legislation for Access and National Parks
Arcadia for all
The Expansion of Plotlands
The Response
The Battle for the Countryside
The Effects of the Legislation
Notes and References

17 Arcadia revisited - the ecological landscape
Amsterdam: the Bijlmermeer
Louis Le Roy
The Natural City
Delft: the Gilles estate
England: Oakwood, Warrington New Town
Notes and References

18. Eco-pastoral - the pastoral redefined
The Age of Ecology
Technology versus Ecology
Aldo Leopold
Rachel Carson
Responses - Eco Art
The Post-pastoral Literature
The Urban Question and Ecological Design
New Approaches
Aesthetics and Ecological Design
Where is Arcadia today?
Notes and References

Final Thoughts
Childhood experiences
Notes and references

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