Arcadia Redux

Fascinating excerpt…touches on memory, nostalgia, saudade….

Excerpt:

“Despite the limitations of the pastoral landscape, we continue to yearn for a safe haven where contemplation and dream may flower:

The motive of seductive rhetoric, no matter how artful or self-conscious, is real desire.  The locus amoenus is a mythic rather than a merely rhetorical place. Like all myths, it means more than any interpretation can articulate, and whether consciously believed in or not, it shapes people’s sense of the world and it motivates their behavior.

A powerful source and solace, nostalgia for lost time motivates anyone interested in memory’s landscape […] Feelings of nostalgia stem from an impulse to idealize memory and history, not just the communal memory of place, but our particular sense of childhood as a lost paradise.”

—Ann Townsend, introducing Steven Marx’s comments on pastoral landscape in “Arcadia Redux,” from Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry, ed. by David Baker and Ann Townsend (Graywolf Press, 2007)

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