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Title:Monarchy and the early English mock-epic poem: Epic challenges against cultural modernization
Author(s):Daly, Patrick Joseph
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dussinger, John A.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:This dissertation is a study of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century reactionary discourse as it was produced in the mock-epic poem. English conservative writers of the mock-epic between 1660 and 1714 turned to an aesthetic formula (high style over low matter) to diminish society's "unheroic" reality without fully understanding that that reality was attributable to the forces of cultural modernization, which included the progressive electoral and social Whig polities that were emerging at this time. The tension between mock-epic's primary civic intent, which sets out to contain society's upstarts, becomes problematized by the poet's inability to sustain in his work a monarchical underpinning, which was essential to mock-epic during this period. This tension manifests itself in each poem's unique narrative structure. The first chapter contrasts the expansive, comic surface of Nicholas Boileau's Le Lutrin (1674) with the far more narrow and even sardonic world of Mac Flecknoe (1676); this contrast helps not only to explain the attenuated coronation structure of John Dryden's mock-heroic but also to anticipate the difficulty that monarchy would present to future mock-epic writers. The second chapter analyzes the three English translations of Le Lutrin by John Oldham (1678), Nicholas Okes (1681), and John Crowne (1691). Attempting to use Boileau's monarchical assumptions to allegorize some political event of the day, these poets translated them into a cultural context in which an absolutist monarchy could no longer be supposed. The fiction in Samuel Garth's The Dispensary (1699), William King's The Furmetary (1699), and Nahum Tate's Panacea: A Poem upon Tea (1700), which comprises the third chapter, also attempts to polarize some enemy of the state; however, the narrative structure in each of these poems is also affected by the failing monarchical ethos at the turn of the century. My study's final chapter examines the way in which the narrative in Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock (1712/1714) and John Gay's The Fan is shaped by the succession crisis during Queen Anne's "Last Four Years."
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Daly, Patrick Joseph
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624332
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624332

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