3:00 PM, 18 Sep 2019 - , ORB 212

Post-pastoral readings of nature and gender in literature


Research Seminar Series

Autumn 2019

3-4 pm, ORB 2.12


18 September

‘Post-pastoral readings of nature and gender in literature’

Professor Terry Gifford

Bath Spa University and Universidad de Alicante


Seamus Heaney titled a late essay ‘Eclogues In Extremis: On the Staying Power of Pastoral’ (2003) and thought of himself as writing in the pastoral tradition initiated by Virgil’s Eclogues in the third century BCE. Critics have also placed in this tradition poetry by Michael Longley, John Montague, Evan Boland, Peter Macdonald, Nula Nί Dhomhmaill and Medbh McGuckian, whilst Patrick Kavanagh’s The Great Hunger has been characterised as a work of anti-pastoral.  But Raymond Williams in The Country and the City (1973) dismissed the pastoral as an idealised conservative distortion serving the land-owning class, Barrell and Bull (1974) declared the pastoral dead in English poetry and ecocritics such as Greg Garrard (2012) regard the pastoral as ‘outmoded’. This talk makes the case for the ‘post-pastoral’ and in particular the insights of ecofeminism in readings of the tensions between gender and nature, focussing upon the work of D. H. Lawrence. Passages from The Rainbow suggest that metaphor might be more causal than correlative as Lawrence intuits the agency of what has previously been regarded as organic symbol.


Professor Terry Gifford is Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Environmental Humanities, UK, and Profesor Honorifico at the University of Alicante, Spain. The second edition of his book Pastoral (Routledge 1999) is due in November. He is also the author of Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry (2011), Reconnecting With John Muir: Essays in Post-Pastoral Practice (University of Georgia Press, 2006) and an eighth collection of poetry: A Feast of Fools (Cinnamon Press 2018). His green reading of the life and work of Ted Hughes was published by Routledge in 2009 and the most recent of his seven books written or edited on Hughes is Ted Hughes in Context (CUP 2018). He has co-edited an ecofeminist issue of Feminismo/s (22) (http://rua.ua.es/dspace/handle/10045/39787?locale=en) and written seven ecofeminist essays on works by D. H. Lawrence, some of which are on his website: http://www.terrygifford.co.uk/




Dr Clíona Ó Gallchoir

School of English, University College Cork, Ireland

Tel: +353 21 4903290


Literature Editor, Eighteenth-Century Ireland

Free - all welcome. Organised by Dr Clíona Ó Gallchóir, School of English

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