Hugh M. Richmond, “Renaissance Landscapes,” Mouton, 1973; De Gruyter 2019.
This study explores some of the significant points in the evolution of a literary pattern, a recognizable topic or motif which captures attention through the poet’s mastery of language, which records the nuances of human awareness of each period. The author coins this genre as “landscape lyric”. Its scale varies from that of an Horatian ode to that of Il Penseroso. In its mature form, the poet characteristically exploits circumstantial detain of persona, place, and atmosphere to give to this kind of poem the appearance of autobiographical realism; thus, he normally used his own name and that of a areal place. This air of historical particularity is a necessary part of the genre’s aesthetic impact – a consideration which distinguishes it at least superficially from the more oblique, pastoral mode.
As a recognized genre the landscape lyric has perhaps been too exclusively associated with the Romantics, and this phase has certainly been too well discussed to go into depth in this volume. This book looks into some earlier masters of the genre, showing that its conception, development, and even perfection as a literary mode antedate the eighteenth century, and that such Romantics as Wordsworth and Keats depended on this perfected tradition in creating poems like “Tintern Abbey” and “to Autumn”. These pre-Romantic achievements in landscape lyricism also influenced later poets as Hardy and Frost. This volume also covers the exposition of the virtues of four important Renaissance poets – Petrarch, Ronsard, Milton, and Marvell. Later poetry in the genre is also quoted and discussed in the latter half of the book.