By Leah Kronenberg
During this e-book Professor Kronenberg indicates that Xenophon's Oeconomicus, Varro's De Re Rustica and Virgil's Georgics usually are not easily works on farming yet belong to a convention of philosophical satire which makes use of allegory and irony to query the which means of morality. those works metaphorically attach farming and its comparable arts to political existence; yet rather than providing farming in its conventional guise as a favorable image, they use it to version the deficiencies of the energetic existence, which in flip is juxtaposed to a well-liked contemplative lifestyle. even supposing those 3 texts aren't often handled jointly, this booklet convincingly connects them with an unique and provocative interpretation in their allegorical use of farming. It additionally fills an incredible hole in our realizing of the literary affects at the Georgics via exhibiting that it's formed not only via its poetic predecessors yet by means of philosophical discussion.
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Extra resources for Allegories of Farming from Greece and Rome: Philosophical Satire in Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil
On the theme of “genres of life” and the contrast between the active and contemplative one in Greek and Roman literature, see Grilli (1953), Joly (1956), and Carter (1986). Cf. Nussbaum (2003) 211–12: “The modern university, in Europe and North America, sharply segments philosophy from literature . . In Athens of the fifth century bc . . there was no general category of ‘literature’; there was no general category of ‘philosophy’, and thus, obviously, no understanding of philosophy as a field of inquiry or expression distinct from literature.
15). Seneca’s basic approach has been influential on modern readers of the Georgics, and Burck (1929) began a trend of interpreting the Georgics as a unified poem, whose purpose is not really to teach farmers to farm. What the poem is “really” about is still debated, though the most recent readers have been influenced by the approaches of Parry (1972) and Putnam (1979), for whom the Georgics is “ultimately about the life of man in this world” (Parry  36) or “a grand trope for life itself” (Putnam  15).
He uses it not to celebrate the active life or to support the mos maiorum, but to reveal the inconsistencies and problems with traditional morality, politics, and intellectual culture in the Late Republic and to celebrate the “less virtuous” contemplative life. Virgil goes a step beyond Varro: he takes as a given the self-interested passions of human beings and the materialistic foundations of morality and political life, but instead of just working in the destructive mode of satire, the Georgics examines the forces that lead to the beliefs and systems that Varro tore down.