ENGC48H3 Lecture Notes - Mock-Heroic, Heroic Couplet, Jonathan Swift

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27 Nov 2011

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Satire Lecture – July 7th
Rape of Lock
Alexander Pope
Literary Influences
later collaborated with Swift.
Aware of predecessors and usually shot them down.
Most satires include allusions to other writers in their own satire.
Literary Reception
T.S. Elliot revered Pope and paid him homage in opening passage of his piece
The Mock Heroic
The kind of satire the Rape of Lock is
We've looked at other kinds: verse satires, imitations
Mock Heroic: A form of satire that adapts the elevated heroic style of the classic epic
poem to a trivial subject.
Frequently used by satirists like Pope and Swift to point out the unheroic character of
the modern age by subjecting thinly disguised contemporary events to lofty treatment.
someone's lock of hair is cut off and given exalted treatment in Rape of Lock
Most mock-epics begin with an invocation to the muse & use the familiar epic devices
of set speeches, supernatural interventions, and descents to the underworld, as well as
infinitely detailed descriptions of the protagonist's activities.
*Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift – could be used for essay topic (20 pages)
example of a mock heroic
Heroic Couplet
Another element of Rape of Lock
Essay proposal
must look at work that we've looked at or other work (book) by authors we've discussed
(Dunciad, etc)
Proposal = a paragraph or 2
Rape of Lock
composed in 2 weeks by Pope in 1711
had 2 cantos (songs) = a division in an epic poem
so only 2 segments of the rape of lock and then 1713 added 3 more cantos to it.
Clarissa is a new character to help explain the moral of the story
heroi-comical poem: merges two diff genres together
Pope refers to his own poem as this so therefore he's well aware of what he's doing –
blending two genres together
What does the mock heroic do:
What does the poem actually satirize?
The conventions of upper class 18th century society – the “beau monde
A satire of “manners” - there's a lot of cutting references to social mores.
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