The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

By Paul Baines | Go to book overview

1712), which again showed Pope's inheritance of the classical mantle, here with irreproachable religious colouring. Addison praised a Miscellany which Pope edited at the behest of Bernard Lintot, a rival publisher of rather less salubrious character than Tonson, which contained 'many excellent Compositions of that ingenious Gentleman' (no. 523, 30 October 1712).

One of these 'Compositions' was the two-canto version of The Rape of the Locke, already a dizzying venture in the mock-heroic use of epic language and images to describe small-scale social world of London. John Caryll had asked Pope to write a poem to try to reconcile two Catholic families at war over an incident in which Lord Petre had snipped off a lock of Arabella Fermor's hair-a trivial enough incident, perhaps, and regarded by Johnson only as 'a frolick of gallantry, rather too familiar' (Johnson 1905:101), but one which had taken on an altogether darker significance. Pope's poem, which uses the inversions and miniaturisations of the mock-heroic form in a brilliantly even-handed analysis of both the weight and the triviality of the offence, was handed about in manuscript and Pope took the opportunity of Lintot's Miscellany to forestall any attempt to bring out an unauthorised edition (Spence 1966:43-4). Again, the poem is also partly about poetic fame and the power of verse to produce social effects and personal immortality.


(d)

KINGS AND QUEENS

By now there were rather greater, quasi-heroic conflicts to consider. England, with her European allies, had been at war with France for most of Pope's lifetime, partly because of France's support for the Jacobite claimants to the English throne and partly because of the general imbalance of political and economic power in Louis XIV's favour. A partial peace was concluded in 1697, but on the death of William III in 1702, without issue, Anne, James II's protestant daughter, succeeded to the throne and war was recommenced, with the Whig Duke of Marlbrough as Captain-General winning some decisive victories. But in 1710 the Whig ministry collapsed and the Tories came to ascendancy; pressure to end the war increased. Some of Pope's mature friendships were formed against this background, one might say partly by it. He grew friendly with John Gay (1685-1732), a poet and dramatist in a congenial mode of mock-heroic. Friendship with William Fortescue, a staunch Whig and lawyer (both terms of abuse in Pope's later years) shows Pope still maintaining Whig contacts, as with Addison and Steele. But in the crucial state of European affairs, it was hardly possible not

-14-

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The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Editors' Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Abbreviations and Referencing xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Life and Contexts 3
  • (A) - A Catholic Childhood 5
  • (B) - Forest Retreats 7
  • (C) - Literary London 10
  • (D) - Kings and Queens 14
  • (E) - Scriblerus 15
  • (F) - Epic Intent 17
  • (G) - Booksellers and Ladies 19
  • (H) - Works and Days 21
  • (I) - Twickenham 23
  • (J) - Shakespeare 26
  • (K) - Epic of Fleet Street 28
  • (L) - System and Satire 32
  • (M) - Horace 35
  • (N) - Letters 38
  • (O) - Laureate in Opposition 40
  • (Q) - The End 44
  • Part II - Work 47
  • (A) - An Essay on Criticism (1711) [Te I:195-326] 49
  • (C) - The Rape of the Lock (1712/1714/1717) [Te Ii:79-212] 65
  • (D) - Eloisa to Abelard (1717) [Te Ii:291-349] 77
  • (E) - Essay on Man (1733-34) [Te Iii:I] 82
  • (F) - Epistles to Several Persons (1731-35) [Te Iii:Ii] 93
  • (G) - Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot (1735) [Te Iv:91-127] 110
  • (H) - Imitations of Horace (1733-40) [Te Iv] 119
  • (I) - The Dunciad (1728-42) [Te V] 130
  • Part III - Criticism 151
  • (A) - Pope and Poetry 153
  • (B) - Politics 163
  • (C) - Gender and Body 171
  • (D) - Pope in Print and Manuscript 189
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 215
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