The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

By Paul Baines | Go to book overview
Satires, in 'overwhelmingly Juvenalian-Persian elevation and gloom' (Weinbrot 1982:331). Erskine-Hill (1983) has however argued for a more complex understanding of Pope's Augustanism, which (with some ambivalence) retained a fundamental trust in Horace's independence and wisdom. Very detailed studies of Pope's Horace by Stack (1985) and Fuchs (1989) have tended to confirm that however Pope deviated from his model (and the deviations are always part of the point), his view of Horace remained substantially appreciative.
(i)

THE DUNCIAD (1728-42) [TE V]
It is in many ways an error to speak of 'The' Dunciad, as if it were unitary, for part of its point is its extraordinary responsiveness to a changing literary and cultural environment. There are four main versions:
(a) The Dunciad: An Heroic Poem. In Three Books (1728), with a false 'Dublin' imprint and shabby format; [28-30]
(b) The Dunciad Variorum (1729), with voluminous mock-critical apparatus and a more detailed text; [31-2]
(c) The New Dunciad (1742), a first version of what became book IV of the poem; [43]
(d) The Dunciad, In Four Books (1743), a final full version in four books with a new hero, the poet laureate Colley Cibber, replacing the old one, Lewis Theobald, and extended commentaries and appendices [44]. It is this version, as the poem to which Pope returns at the end of his career, the poem in which he engages his energies most completely, which will be examined here. The poem is a continuing site for the collision between the aristocratic and heroic culture of epic and the political and literary culture of mass production; the mock-heroic form allows Pope to superimpose a highly contemporaneous vision of London onto the timeless morphology of epic in comic and disturbing ways.

Book One opens with a conventional-sounding epic formula:

The Mighty Mother, and her Son who brings

The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings,

I sing.

(D, I:1-3)

-130-

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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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