Abstract

"Organic Commerce" argues that eighteenth-century georgic poetry imagines alignments of economic and sentimental intersubjectivity that define profit as the expansion of sociable networks, not the pursuit of private gain. While georgic is often read as a conservative genre complicit in the exploitation of labor, I direct attention to how it adapts paternalistic agricultural traditions to modern commercial practices in order to criticize the excesses and inequalities of those practices without abandoning them. Georgic poetry's critique creates an alternative economics characterized by the melding of mutual feeling with production and the redirection of self-interest towards a cooperative whole governed by sympathy yet conducive to profit. However, this inclusiveness is ultimately secured by a specifically British commerce and an underlying violence that halts the expansion of georgic sociability at the shoreline.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 197-221
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-13
Open Access
No
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