By Susan Glickman
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Glickman argues that early immigrants to Canada introduced with them the expectancy that nature will be grand, mysterious, extraordinary - even terrifying - and welcomed scenes that conformed to those notions of sublimity. She contends that to interpret their descriptions of nature as "negative," as such a lot of critics have performed, is an important false impression.
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Additional resources for The Picturesque and the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape
He was also committed to British North America: his preface, datelined "Quebec, 24th Jan. " That is, he asks to be recognized as a particular writer in a particular place and time. The very title of Abram's Plains demands our engagement with history, just as the preface makes it clear that, far from feeling belated, or in exile from Western culture, Cary saw himself in a continuous line of descent from poets like Pope. Moreover, topographical poems, such as this one, illustrate the inseparability of myth and history - how a poet "reads" the landscape he surveys has as much to do with mythology about the place as it does with the actual events enacted there.
Gary rarely pretends to survey the landscape as Denham does in Cooper's Hill. 2). And this opening wonderfully conveys the richness Gary sees in his cultural situation: Thy Plains, O Abram! and thy pleasing views, Where, hid in shades, I sit and court the muse, Grateful I sing. For there, from care and noise, Oft have I fled to taste thy silent joys: There, lost in thought, my musing passion fed, Or held blest converse with the learned dead. i-io). This montage of allusions to The Seasons and Windsor-Forest emphasizes Gary's joy in his literary inheritance, the same joy acknowledged by his preface.
Neither takes pastoral nature seriously as a home for the human spirit. "36 Perhaps this is why Mackay's colony, populated by French-Canadian "swains" and Indian "savages," is never taken seriously by the poet as a place his spirit might find comfort. Unlike Cary, he has been unable to see the prospect before him in terms of its natural and historical context; literary sterotypes intervene. 217-18). So although he welcomes the chance to return to temperate England, he knows that he won't really be happy there either.
The Picturesque and the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape by Susan Glickman