This essay examines a georgic inheritance in American poetry that reconfigures the disenchanted character of Virgilian georgic in light of the changing historical conditions of capitalist modernization. These poems, rather than portraying agrarian labor as a figure for social stability and imperial renewal, instead explore the evolving effects of capital's modes of organization on the material particulars, cultural position, and human value of labor. Reading poems by Walt Whitman and Robert Frost as disenchanted georgics, the essay argues that these works dramatize the irreconcilable paradoxes of labor under industrial capitalism while speculating on the compensatory value poetry alone can produce.
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