As they debated the pros and cons of grafting, eighteenth-century French agronomists, philosophers, novelists, and poets negotiated the tensions and contradictions that surfaced between their nostalgia for a `”natural” society, and their dreams of perpetual innovation, culture, and progress. The discourse on grafting helped authors articulate their understandings of the merits or faults of civilization, just as it also allowed them to define good civic participation and ideal forms of stewardship of the land. Furthermore, insofar as grafts could be read as figures of the transplantation and integration of foreign culture(s), they could be used metaphorically to allude to current political events and problems. As a result, the discourse on grafting intersected with, and engaged, some of the key issues of the French Enlightenment.

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