"Those Fenceless Fields the Sons of Wealth Divide": Enclosures and Idyllic Nostalgia in Goldsmith's The Deserted Village

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Christopher Crawford


This paper explores the effects of parliamentary enclosures on the cultural zeitgeist of 1 SW century Europe, utilizing Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Pillage as an explanatory foil. First, the way in which The Deserted Pillage addresses contemporary sentiments on parliamentary enclosures is examined. Afterwards, this sentiment is analyzed in light of Williams' theory of idyllic sentimentality (i.e., "escalator theory"). This research concludes with the proposition that Williams' theory that idyllic remembrances is both true, contemporarily important, and well exemplified in Goldsmith's work.

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