The Symbolic Design of Windsor-Forest: Iconography, Pageant, and Prophecy in Pope's Early Work


"This book offers a full reading of Windsor-Forest (1713), which can be regarded as the last great Renaissance poem in English. Along with An Essay on Criticism, it ranks second in importance only to The Rape of the Lock among the earlier works of Alexander Pope. It is the culmination of Pope's early pastoral phase and at the same time the most nakedly political of his major poems until the bitter satires of his later years. The poem has figured centrally in recent scholarly debate, e.g., in E. P. Thompson's historical classic Whigs and Hunters, as well as in important literary studies by Howard Weinbrot and Laura Brown, where hot topics such as national identity and the imperial drive have been contested. This book aims to give a coherent account of Windsor-Forest, as the poem draws on a range of artistic modes inherited from classical and Renaissance sources, including the court masque, history painting, heraldic design, architecture, and more. All can be shown to serve a single allegorical purpose, reflected in the language and structure of the poem. However, the argument also confronts political readings of the poem, as it embraces the elements of prophecy and astrology. The book establishes a direct line back to major writers such as Ben Jonson and John Dryden." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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