Katie KadueJul 3, 2023
Labors of Preservation from Rabelais to Milton
University of Chicago Press 2021
Many early modern humanists would balk at the proposition that what they did amounted to housework. They were far more likely to reach for the heroic image of a farmer striving in the fields, as immortalized in the ancient Roman poet Virgil’s Georgics. But, as shown in Katie Kadue’s book Domestic Georgic: Labors of Preservation from Rabelais to Milton (University of Chicago, 2021), the domestic practice of preservation offered a powerful metaphor for the often-menial, often-overlooked labor. These labors from pickling to correcting to tempering were largely imperceptible but were essential to ward off disorder.
Domestic Georgic offers fresh close readings of Francois Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Andrew Marvell’s “Upon Appleton House,” Montaigne’s Essays, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Through these readings, this study provides a compelling new framework for our understanding of early modern poetics, gender, and labor.
Katie Kadue is an incoming professor at SUNY Binghamton and a former Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the University of Chicago Society of Fellows. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Modern Philology, Montaigne Studies, and Studies in Philology, and public-facing work can be found at The Philosopher
and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
John Yargo is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Boston College. He earned a PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. In 2023, his dissertation won the J. Leeds Barroll Prize, given by the Shakespeare Association of America. His peer-reviewed articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.