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Pope: Rape of the Lock

Course Code
Helen Hatton

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Week 17: Rape of the Lock
Reign of Queen Anne
-1707: Great Britian =Act of Union” => England, Scotland, and Wales
-British empire = control over N America, India, etc.
-1714: George of Hanover invited to assume the throne; his limited knowledge of English
+ Egland allows more political power in hands on Parliament => ensures no Catholic
Intellectual Culture
Scientific advancement: Newton advances mathematics, scientific method, last vestiges
of heliocentricism eliminated
-technology: coal mining, steam engine accelerate Industrial Revolution
-Empiricism: diaries + biographies more popular => the imp of one person, ppl interested
in details of daily life; human beings could ascertain truth through observation,
experimentation, experience; interest in personal observation => unimportant ppl become
popular through published diaries
John Locke
-tabula rasa = mind is blank at birth + imprinted w ideas through experience. All
knowledge comes through reasoning from experience. Essay Concerning Human
-see more notes
-decorum: fitness of genre + style to subject matter; etiquette
-reason: human capacity to analyze + understand, including but not limited to logic;
inductive reason
-wit: refined cleverness, sees diff in apparent different things,
-more terms: -> egalitarian, rational, etc.
-nature: universally shared, unchanging features of humanity; NOT
mysterious/spiritual nature seen by Romantics
-> exemplified in works of ancient poets esp. Homer:Those things which delight
all ages must have been an imitation of nature
-Enthusiast: (not positive) one of hot, credulous imagination; thinks himself
inspired/very fond of something. Eg. Kings who think they’re better than others= bad.
-Enthusiastick: over-jealous in any one of thing
-Heroic Couplet: rhyming couplet of iambic pentameter, expressed value of regularity or
smoothness; expressive substitutions usually maintain syllable count; enjambment
rejected in favour of integrity of line.
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-there’s no natural virtue; we’re motivated by fear + appetitie.
-therefore need civil society to create order + protect us from each other. We make a
social contract where we exchange some freedoms for the security provided by a king
John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochestor
-libertine: his life his shaped by pursuit of pleasure, esp. sexual pleasure -> often to
scandal of good society
-scepticism: there are no truths which can be called to question;
Aphra Behn, 1640? – 1689
-first professional woman writer in England (full rights + ownership of own works for 14
-Anne Finch = another female writer
-Pope foreshadows the developing tensions regarding equality = eg. Wollestonecraft +
-Marquis de Sade => sex = mutual destruction; sex = sadomachism => questions the
boundaries of human’s will to destroy
-Wollestonecraft: importance of women, womanhood, mother’s contribution to society
-> women aren’t the “same” as men but their sphere of work is equally important
-Restoration + 18 th
c: what’s in and out
-Metaphysical imagery
-lyric (personal voice)
-heroic couplets
-classical illusions (most ppl understand)
-sex (material)
-social commentary/satire
Donne, the Anniversary
-individual secret relationship w other person -> most imp
-vs. Dryden’s thoughts on literature: lit shouldn’t beunique or limited to one
perception. No single interpretation is unique; it’s probably shared already by a combo
of intellectual ppl
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