Katie Kadue prefaces Domestic Georgic with a familiar epigraph drawn from John Milton’s Areopagitica: “Books are not absolutely dead things.” Kadue’s revelatory reading of this moment in Milton’s pamphlet suspends the usual questions about the freedom of the press to focus on his concern with preserved vitality, the idea that books are the stored and shelved lives of people as well as of their ideas. Milton calls books “that season’d life of man preserv’d and stor’d up”; they evoke, Kadue proposes, “a kitchen cabinet, storage closet, or medicine chest” (8). Her analyses of Milton’s metaphors unveil a domestic analogy that has always coexisted with the grandeur of the imagined Miltonic library of vital books and discerning readers. This is one of the many local readings in Domestic Georgic that illuminate overlooked aspects of household work in familiar sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts. Now that I see the link between the...

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