Rape of the Lock
Mock-epic to reveal frivolities and superficiality of modern society, especially
female society and vanity
Wit as spontaneous, not real knowledge but shallow, superficial tricks of the
world… language tricking perception
John Locke essay -> verrrrry long sentences
Language using rigour and reason to communication idea, to differentiate…
Spectator – wit like fine woman… beautiful dressed and undressed
Locke and transformation of understanding of English language from rhetorical
language (symbolic) to language as mode of communication, ideas, as medium
Communicating with pure reason and pure ideas
Essay on Criticism
o 289 Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
o 290And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line;
o 291Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit;
o 292One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
o 293Poets, like painters, thus, unskill'd to trace
o 294The naked nature and the living grace,
o 295With gold and jewels cover ev'ry part,
o 296And hide with ornaments their want of art.
o 297True wit is nature to advantage dress'd,
o 298What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd,
o 299Something, whose truth convinc'd at sight we find,
o 300That gives us back the image of our mind.
o 301As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
o 302So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit.
o 303For works may have more wit than does 'em good,
o 304As bodies perish through excess of blood.
Yolking together different ideas to show wit in poetry
Criticizing poems that look pretty but have nothing underneath
o 305 Others for language all their care express,
o 306And value books, as women men, for dress:
o 307Their praise is still--"the style is excellent":
o 308The sense, they humbly take upon content.
o 309Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
o 310Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. o 311False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
o 312Its gaudy colours spreads on ev'ry place;
o 313The face of Nature we no more survey,
o 314All glares alike, without distinction gay:
o 315But true expression, like th' unchanging sun,
o 316Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon,
o 317It gilds all objects, but it alters none.