Remembering (and Forgetting) Fairfax’s Battleelds
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Remembering (and Forgetting) Fairfax’s Battleelds book
The act of horse breeding in the early modern period was generically identified as a 'Gentlemen's Recreation', and treatises on the subject of rural sport and rural management, such as Nicholas Cox's The Gentleman's Recreation, often bore that title. Fairfax clearly envisioned his poetry as the product of his solitude and contemplation, in active contrast to his previous public military life. Fairfax achieved fame through military success, but Richard Nash would contend that this was only one public phase of his life, and that he saw his own life's work as the breeding of horses. Fairfax's compromise position makes perfection of both parents necessary, though the male's perfection ranks a little higher on the scale of desirability. In the end, Fairfax continues to maintain traditional doctrines, but is clearly making light of the most frequently noted applications of those doctrines, while simultaneously advocating a georgic practice that moves well beyond their limitations.