eyes of deconstruction. Analysing the oppositional stance of the poetic voice and its uses of the couplet form of binary opposition to establish truth and identity by negating otherness and falsehood ('The strong antipathy of good to bad'), Atkins contends that Pope's differentiations are always contaminated by elements of similarity and that Pope's negated victims have a habit of showing up in supposedly purified areas of self-presentation.
It is possible to find contradiction in Pope without completely demolishing his credentials. Nicholson (1994) describes the various trials the Scriblerians (especially Pope) had in negotiating the new opportunities for investment and monetary manipulation afforded by the development of banking and the stock market: all were in theory opposed to a system which appeared to allow for fraud and delusion on a grand scale, and which appeared to reconstruct the way individuals conceived of themselves and their agency in new and anti-social directions; yet all were investors to some degree, who sought monetary profit from the rise of capitalism. Similar kinds of 'simultaneous' meaning, sometimes figuring as contradiction, have informed gender-based criticism, to which we now turn.
Pope grew up in a closely-protected environment in which women (mother, aunt, nurse) to some extent dominated. Though unmarried, and probably mostly celibate, Pope embraced a kind of Restoration rakish culture in his early poems and letters [10-12]. Though always conscious that his unusual frame reduced his sexual chances, he had significant quasi-romances with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Blount sisters; the friendships with Lady Mary and Teresa went badly awry, but Martha Blount was still a close friend in his last years, and was the major beneficiary of his will. He was close to many other women of noble rank. The mysterious 'Amica' appears to have invented a romance with Pope on the basis of his poetry [19-20, 44]. Female friends were often the named recipients of his poems (they were also the recipients of some of his most carefully self-implicating letters): as well as The Rape of the Lock and Epistle to a Lady, we have the 'Epistle to Miss Blount, with the works of Voiture', and 'Epistle to Miss Blount, on her leaving the Town, after the Coronation'; 'To Belinda on the