What is added in to eighteenth-century georgic? How does georgic add up? Georgic+ engages with the additive properties of georgic verse as it combines with such modes as pastoral or satire and also the untidy inclusivity of what Margaret Doody (1985) called “large, mixed Georgic.” Critical discussions have frequently started with Joseph Addison’s definition (1697) of agricultural content adorned by poetic devices: “AGeorgic therefore is some part of the Science of Husbandry put into a pleasing Dress and set off with all the Beauties and Embellishments of Poetry.” This formulation represents only a portion of the period’s extensive engagement with georgic. English single-crop georgic poems—starting with John Philips Cyder (1708) and proliferating in British and Caribbean contexts—focus on a closed subject; however, georgic can also include vast “open” material as in James Thomson’s The Seasons (1730-1746), which James Sambrook glossed (1972) as a “varied and complex descriptive-reflective-didactic poem.” Courtney Weiss Smith’s recent intervention (2016) reinvests in georgic as richly complex poetry featuring “elaborate nature descriptions full of personifications and periphrases, revel[ing] in allusion, digression, and complex structural patterning.” Informed by recent critical insights, this panel welcomes discussion of georgic’s digressive intertextuality in varied regional and national contexts.
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