By Leah Kronenberg

During this booklet Professor Kronenberg indicates that Xenophon's Oeconomicus, Varro's De Re Rustica and Virgil's Georgics are usually not easily works on farming yet belong to a practice of philosophical satire which makes use of allegory and irony to question the that means of morality. those works metaphorically attach farming and its similar arts to political lifestyles; yet rather than featuring farming in its conventional guise as a good image, they use it to version the deficiencies of the lively lifestyles, which in flip is juxtaposed to a popular contemplative lifestyle. even though those 3 texts aren't often handled jointly, this e-book convincingly connects them with an unique and provocative interpretation in their allegorical use of farming. It additionally fills an enormous hole in our realizing of the literary impacts at the Georgics through exhibiting that it truly is formed not only through its poetic predecessors yet through philosophical discussion.

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Extra resources for Allegories of Farming from Greece and Rome: Philosophical Satire in Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil

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He notes at the outset of his study: “Greed is central to ancient Athenian history, ideology, and political thought. It motivated political action and occupied the attention of contemporary analysts of civic conflict and imperialism” (1). He briefly touches upon greed in Roman culture and notes that “Roman political thinkers and historians embedded greed deeply within their analyses of social unrest, individual competition, and the wide framework of characteristically Roman desires to get more prestige and power” (16).

On the moral connotations of farming, see also the initial section of this introduction. Introduction 23 My allegorical readings of Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil fit in with approaches which interpret farming (or household management) in a symbolic manner but which also draw on the symbolism that these activities already possessed in Greek and Roman culture. The main difference between my approach and most previous ones, then, is that I see the agricultural allegories present in these works as embodying negative ethical and political behavior, and not as the models of wise and virtuous activity they are traditionally set up to be.

Booth’s (1974) original discussion is on 53–86. Strauss discusses his “markers” for “reading between the lines” in Strauss (1952) 30. For a discussion of the markers of Socratic irony, see Hyland (1995) 105–06. The discussion of Socratic irony is a field unto itself, and a controversial one. See, most recently, the contributions of Vlastos (1991), Gordon (1996), Nehamas (1998), Vasiliou (1999), (2002), Griswold (2002b), and Edmunds (2004). O’Hara (2005), in a discussion of the importance of interpreting inconsistencies in Roman epic instead of simply explaining them away through emendation or the like, cites as a humorous caution against absolute certainty in such matters the work of Herschel Parker, who “presents some pretty funny examples of elaborate theories worked out to interpret inconsistencies in Twain, Melville, Crane, Fitzgerald, and others, where he can prove, using diaries and other documents, that the inconsistencies were introduced by lazy revisions, poor or puritanical editing, or even typesetting errors” (21).

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