Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies


Tim Blackmore

Second Advisor

Carole Farber


This thesis investigates, through close-reading, the transformation of the pastoral in the New World, its premise being that William Empson, Leo Marx, and Carolyn Merchant critique the pastoral using language of magic and trickery, that as the pastoral was projected onto the American landscape, embodied in the American “common man,” and infused into the American machine, the distinction between art and life became less marked and allowed the cultural politics of the pastoral, a politics that serves the status quo, to sneakily work its way into the American popular imagination. Women writers, including Sarah Orne Jewett and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, renegotiated the American landscape as a garden, not of feminine purity or willing bounty, but where women’s labour, previously omitted, is reromanticized. Their emphasis on beautiful labour leads to Sheri S. Tepper’s alternative machine in the garden; slow and silent technology models itself on nature, listening to it instead of dominating it.



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