In this book Professor Kronenberg shows that Xenophon's Oeconomi-cus, Varro's De Re Rustica,
and Virgil's Georgia are not simply works on farming but belong to a tradition of philosophical
satire which uses allegory and irony to question the meaning of morality and the right way to
live. These works metaphorically connect farming and its related arts to political life;
but instead of presenting farming in its traditional guise as a positive symbol, they use
ir to model the materialistic foundations and deficiencies of conventional morality and
politics. In turn, they juxtapose a contemplative model of life that is superior to the
active life in its access to knowledge and lack of hypocrisy. Although these three texts
are not usually treated together, and each section can be taken as a stand-alone analysis,
this book convincingly connects them with an original and provocative interpretation of their
allegorical use of farming. It also fills an important gap in our understanding of the
literary influences on the Georgics by showing that it is shaped not just by its poetic
predecessors but by philosophical dialogue.
Leah kronenberg is Assistant Professor of Classics at Rutgers University.