Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (198 KB)

Title: The oxymoron of American pastoralism

Author: Sayre, G.;

Date: 2013

Source: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory. 69(4): 1-23.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Pastoralism has been variously defined in American literary studies. In European literature the pastoral persisted as a distinct genre and self-conscious literary tradition from Theocritus and Virgil through the eighteenth century. Major eighteenth and nineteenth-century American authors alluded to this tradition, but they could not really lay claim to it, for as this essay will argue, the European pastoral was inapplicable to the American setting, both socially and ecologically: socially because although early Anglo-America was by no means a classless society, the distinction between landowners and shepherds was scarcely relevant in the young United States; and ecologically because the pastoral way of life, defined as a subsistence based upon herds of livestock, was not indigenous to America.

Keywords: pastoralism, American

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Sayre, G. 2013. The oxymoron of American pastoralism. Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory. 69(4): 1-23.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.