Traditionally, critics of the English Renaissance have viewed pastoral as a static, idealising genre, aimed at the recreation of an idyllic past. More recently, these idealising humanist approaches have been forcefully challenged by studies written from historicist perspectives. In Pastoral and the Poetics of Self-Contradiction Judith Haber complicates the conventional opposition between humanist and historicist criticism by examining the ways in which pastoral poets themselves interrogate the contradictory relations inherent in their genre. Haber explores problems of representation, self-representation, and imitation in classical and Renaissance pastoral, focusing on texts by Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney and Marvell. Her original approach revises current understanding of pastoral as a genre, and raises wider questions about the place of literature in society and the difficulties involved in constituting literary traditions.