The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

By Paul Baines | Go to book overview

were originally written to Caryll. This was done partly to replace correspondence now lost (Pope could not retrieve letters to Addison, who had died in 1719, or Congreve, who had died in 1729); but the Addison letters were also calculated to prove Pope's account of their quarrel. The sin of this fabrication now looks somewhat less cardinal than it did when first discovered, and Pope's actions need to be understood in the context of the virulent biography with which he was lumbered by the Dunces. Pope was at the same period becoming master of his image in art. There are few pictorial images of Pope taken without his consent, and a great many which he evidently authorised: terra cotta busts, oil paintings, medals and engravings, mostly omitting Pope's deformed stature below the shoulders and concentrating instead on Pope's expressive features, deployed in serious, contemplative mood, often with an unofficial laureation about the temples or an allusion to earlier poetic models (Wimsatt 1965).


(o)

LAUREATE IN OPPOSITION

In 1737, when his authorised Letters were published, Pope resumed his Horace series with Horace his Ode to Venus (9 March), a charmingly self-mocking (and covertly self-celebrating) adieu to sexual pleasures. The Second Epistle of the Second Book of Horace came out in April, offering a comic catalogue of reasons for not writing alongside a pointed account of Pope's upbringing; and The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace appeared on 25 May [124-7]. This latter poem, originally addressed to the Emperor Augustus in his role as benign patron, was now, with flagrant irony, addressed to the philistine George II. The Court was beginning to take serious notice of Pope's poetry of opposition and the Privy Council considered taking him into custody. Tension increased after the death of Queen Caroline, Walpole's protector, in November 1737, and many of the ensuing Horatian poems offer the Opposition, itself fragmented and disorganised, some cultural platform from which to act; Pope was sometimes celebrated as the alternative laureate in Opposition literature, and was equally abused in the government press for his friendship with Bolingbroke.

On 16 May and 18 July 1738 appeared the two dialogues later known as Epilogue to the Satires but originally published under the Orwellian title One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-Eight [127-9]. Opposition hopes were high: Walpole was under pressure to abandon his pacific foreign policy and respond to Spanish incursions on British merchant fleets. In Dialogue I, a 'Friend' urges caution and restraint, pointing

-40-

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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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