The systematic exploration of the world in the early modern period transformed how the human condition and its place in nature were represented in topographies, natural histories, herbals, and other discourses contained within the practice of ecology. My dissertation, Third Nature: Early Modern Iberian Ecology and the Poetics of Pastoral, argues that Renaissance pastoral—the literature of poet-shepherds—takes part in this practice, a position that challenges conventional thinking of pastoral landscapes as idealized backdrops that retreat from political and environmental concerns. I propose instead that as a form of ecological thought—that is, as a resource for apprehending nature and its relationship to the human—pastoral embodies not a withdrawal but an engagement with nature, and how, through the rituals of poetic language, we might reimagine our place there.

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