Beneath the urban landscape: Some versions of American pastoralism in urban literature, art, and film
AuthorCooledge, Dean R.
AdvisorScruggs, Charles W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this dissertation I explore the relationship between the city and the pastoral ideal in America. While not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of Urban Pastoralism, I want to focus my attention on the pastoral impulse one experiences within the city. Some versions of American Pastoralism emphasize the city as a complex wilderness, which creates within its inhabitants a pastoral impulse for a simpler mode (Golden Age) outside the boundaries of the city. However, the inability of the subject in art, literature, and film, to escape from the city forces the subject to seek a symbolic pastoral moment within the city. I will discuss three "texts" to demonstrate how this pastoral desire is manifested in the city. First I will discuss a selection of paintings by Edward Hopper. Hopper paints an ironic form of hortus conclusus in his paintings of this city, for his inhabitants appear trapped within the frame of the painting and longing for "something beyond the frame." I will demonstrate how Hopper's paintings present the possibility of a narrative through this irony. As viewers, our desire to impose order upon this chaos compels us to construct narratives for his paintings. This narrative desire is tied to the pastoral impulse which satisfies our need for order. Second, I will discuss John Updike's Rabbit, Run in which Harry pursues a point suspended in time. His pursuit of the Golden Age of his youth is compromised by the physical and geographical surroundings. Finally, Woody Allen's Manhattan shows a man in pursuit of the pastoral in terms of the meaning and purpose of art. Through his search for artistic integrity, Allen discovers the value of beauty as a symbol of the pastoral ideal.
Degree ProgramGraduate College