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Which critiques of pastoral love poetry do you find most compelling and/or satisfying, or which alternate critiques would you want to make?

Last week, we discussed the forms and conventions of sixteenth-century English love poems and got a taste of how those conventions were transformed and transgressed by seventeenth-century poets. Today, we consider two other ways poets were responding to one another: through direct parody and through poetic critique.
Our first pair of poems are Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and Sir Walter Raleigh’s parody “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” Both are sixteenth-century poems in the pastoral tradition, a literary trope that takes a countryside setting and centers on shepherds and shepherdesses as protagonists. Pastoral poems have classical origins in works like Virgil’s Eclogues and Georgics, and in the renaissance, they can also have a moralizing tone; since Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd” in the New Testament, early modern poets sometimes used shepherding metaphors to make a not-too-veiled statement about good versus bad priests and religious authorities. But we won’t be looking directly at those kinds of pastoral poems. It is worth noting that pastoral tropes were very popular in court poetry, drama, and prose romances in the sixteenth century, and the upper-class city dwellers and courtiers seemed to really enjoy the fantasy of the “simple life” proffered by poetic shepherd-lovers and beautiful country lasses. Notice how Raleigh’s parody of Marlowe’s poem offers a not-so-subtle critique of these conventions!
Our second pair of readings are Robert Southwell’s Epistle (a dedicatory letter) to a manuscript of his English poems that he sent to a relative. (The edition we have is from an early manuscript copy of the manuscript – not the original.) In his Epistle, Southwell speaks out against what he sees as the moral problems with the love poetry of his day, and he makes a case for why religious people not only can but *should* use poetry for devout ends. Our final reading, the seventeenth-century Protestant poet George Herbert’s poem “Jordan (I)” takes up Southwell’s argument in poetic form, making a more subtle critique of pastoral love poetry.
For this week’s discussion post, I would like you to read these texts and consider the relationships between them. Pay special attention to the rhetorical and poetic strategies many of these poets use to critique other poets. Then, please complete a discussion post in which you do the following:
1) In part 1 of your post, please use at least one quote from Marlowe’s poem and one quote from Raleigh’s poem to illustrate one or more ways Raleigh is critiquing or making fun of Marlowe’s poetic speaker. Try to be as specific as possible in explaining how Raleigh’s quote talks back to Marlowe’s poem. I encourage you to consider language and elements of form as well as imagery and ideas. (150-200 words)
2) In part 2 of your post, please use one quote from Southwell’s Epistle and one quote from Herbert’s “Jordan (I)” to explain how each one is talking back to/critiquing an element of pastoral poetry that we can see in Marlowe’s poem. (150-200 words)
3) In part 3 of your post, reflect on how these varied critiques of pastoral love poetry relate to your own impressions. Are there elements of pastoral love poetry that appeal to you or that you think appeal to a lot of people today? Which critiques of pastoral love poetry do you find most compelling and/or satisfying, or which alternate critiques would you want to make? (75-100 words)

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