The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

By Paul Baines | Go to book overview

aborted on the death of the Queen on 1 August 1714 and accession of the Elector of Hanover as George I: Arbuthnot lost his job as royal physician, and his rooms in St James's; Harley was imprisoned in the Tower on suspicion of treason by the new Whig ministry; Swift, defeated and disenchanted, returned to his Irish preferment; so did Parnell. A Jacobite rising in 1715 was swiftly defeated but made life even worse for Catholics like Pope, who were all liable to be thought disaffected if not actually treasonous. Perhaps under the threat of resuscitated anti-Catholic legislation, the Pope family decided to give up Binfield, depriving Pope of the 'few paternal acres' previously designed for his inheritance and celebrated in his 'Ode on Solitude'. In March 1716 Pope left Binfield, writing several elegiac letters comparing his loss to Adam's expulsion from Eden and various classical exiles (Mack 1985:284-5). The family moved to Chiswick, to avail themselves of the protection of Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), an unimpeachably Whig aristocrat, whom Pope had probably met through Jervas. The Earl was a notable patron of all the arts, returning from his grand tour laden with paintings, scultpures, and musical instruments. His house was built to his own eclectically neoclassical design, and his garden also deeply impressed Pope, who was later to dedicate an Epistle on the use of riches in architecture and gardening. Pope was on very easy terms with the Earl, despite the difference in social rank: in a brief, flirtatious note to Martha Blount, he boasted 'we are to walk, ride, ramble, dine, drink, & lye together. His gardens are delightful! his musick ravishing' (Letters I:338).


(g)

BOOKSELLERS AND LADIES

The loss of Binfield was partially compensated by this new access to aristocratic culture, which Pope for the most part frankly enjoyed. The nearness to London had more serious uses for Pope as he managed the subscription and printing of his Iliad translation. London had other attractions too, and in several light verses of the period he casts himself in mildly libertine character. He also became attracted to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), the most talented woman writer of the period. When three of her manuscript satires on court life were published by the scavenging bookseller Edmund Curll, Pope, perhaps motivated by feelings of chivalry or perhaps by a more immediate sense of injury (Curll also ascribed them to Gay and to Pope himself), took immediate physical revenge. On 28 March 1716, two days after Curll's publication of Court Poems, Pope somehow managed to slip Curll an

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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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