This essay seeks to revalue repetition in literary studies. Critics have often treated repetition—clichés, rules, norms, mechanization, monotony—as the painful or oppressive backdrop against which their best values emerge: originality, distinctiveness, resistance. But this critical tendency has carried its own repressive effects, including wresting our attention from collectivities and solidarities. A reading of John Clare’s 1820 poem “The Harvest Morning” shows that repetition is crucial to the exercise of political and economic power and that poetic forms, especially rhythm and rhyme, are well suited for theorizing the repetitions of political power through their own intrinsic repetitiveness.

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