The Machine in the Garden; Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America Characters

Leo Marx
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Robert Beverley

One of the first colonial writers, Beverley's work, History and Present State of Virginia, published in 1705, portrays the original pastoral ideal in America. Using original sources, he relates the descriptions of the first arrivals, depicting Virginia as a "natural garden," close to paradise. His enthusiasm for the colony was obvious, as he described the untainted land and the natives who were not "'corrupted with those Pomps and Vanities, which had depraved and enslaved the Rest of Mankind,'" (p. 77). He was perhaps the first writer to pose the essential question that would face the settlers: would they live like the Indians, in a natural primitive state, or would they bring some of their cultural mores with them, building villages and towns and developing the land through farming? This was, indeed, the essential question, for it dealt with the concept of progress versus raw nature, and man's...

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