An organic commerce: Sociable selfhood in eighteenth-century georgic

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11 Scopus citations


"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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-221
Number of pages25
JournalEighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities


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