Elements of the Pastoral
“My theme is memory”. To what extent does Brideshead Revisited present an idealized view of the past?
Waugh calls the first section of the novel Et in Arcadia Ego. How far do you agree that this is the most important aspect of the novel?
Evelyn Waugh refers to love as “an enchanted garden”. How far do you agree that love is always presented as magical and enchanted in Brideshead Revisited ( or pastoral literature in general for a Section B question)?
“It seemed a reminder that the world was a better place.” How far does Waugh make use of the notion of a golden age in Brideshead Revisited?
‘There is a snake in Eden; corruption in Paradise.’ To what extent do you agree that the Brideshead estate embodies a corrupted paradise in the novel?
‘Sebastian is in love with his own childhood. That will make him very unhappy.’ Consider Sebastian’s role in the novel in the light of Cara’s comment.
Waugh said that the novel was written ‘in a bleak period’ and was consequently filled ‘with a kind of gluttony…. For the splendours of the recent past.’ How does Waugh use the idea of a Golden Age?
‘One of the things we forget about Brideshead Revisted is that at least half the novel explores the world of urban pastoral with as much nostalgic affection as it explores traditional rural pastoral.’ Do you agree?
As You Like It
Consider the view that, in As You Like It, Arden is conceived as a place of refuge from the evils of civilization.
To what extent do you agree with the view that, in the Forest of Arden, characters find freedom in spite of enforced banishment?
To what extent do you think the court characters are ‘pursuing a dream of simple country life’ in As You Like It?
“Here feel we not the penalty of Adam.” How far does the Forest of Arden represent a return to Eden for the characters of the envious court? Do they really find good in everything?
How far do you agree that the Forest, far from representing paradise is actually a place of “bare distress”?
“Love is merely a madness.” Does As You Like It (or the Pastoral genre) suggest it is anything more substantial than that?
How far do you agree that Shakespeare is suggesting that you can only be happy when life is just As You Like It?
Pastoral Poetry 1300-1800 - Various
What is your response to the view that Marvell’s treatment of The Pastoral is playful, rather than serious?
‘Pastoral is essentially about reflection’. Discuss the adequacy or inadequacy of this opinion in relation to at least three of the poems selected for study from 1300-1800.
‘Retreat, certainly; but also renewal – those are the chief concerns of much of pastoral.’ How far is this a view borne out by the poems selected for study from 1300-1800?
With detailed reference to at least three poems, compare and contrast the ways in which different poets present rural landscapes.
Consider the way in which at least three poets explore pastoral as a place of refuge.
How far do the poems you have read propose that the pastoral life is without blemish? You should refer in detail to at least three poems.
To what extent do the poems you have studied support the view that Pastoral is no more than writing prettily about nature? You should refer to at least three poems in detail.
‘Pastoral is a silly literary genre as it fundamentally ignores the realities of rural life.’ How far is this view supported by your reading of the poems selected for study from 1300-1800. Make sure you refer to at least three poems in your response.
To what extent do you agree that pastoral poetry emphasises the importance of living in harmony with nature?
‘For pastoral poets nature provides more food for the spirit than food for the body.’ How far do you agree with this view of pastoral poetry?
Childhood has been depicted by some...