Rape of the lock

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Conventions of epic and mock-epic poetry

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Rape of the lock

  1. 1. Classical Tradition – Epics, Tragedies, Myths – Homer, Virgil, Sophocles, Ovid, Catullus A History of English Literature....1350 – Geoffrey Chaucer (courtly love/ fabliaux)1400 – Petrarch and Dante – beginning of the Renaissance. Rise of the Sonnet.1500 – Tudor Poetry – Wyatt, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare1600 – Elizabethan/ Jacobean – Donne, Marvell, Milton1700 – Augustine Age – Pope, Dryden1800 – Romantics – Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats1830 – 1901 – Victorian era. Homework Presentation!1900 – 1914 – Turn of the century – Yeats, Millay, Hardy etc.1920s - Modernism (Joyce, T. S. Eliot, e. e. Cummings)1930s – 30s – Auden, Macniece1950s – Mid-century Disillusionment – Philip Larkin, Betjemen1960s – Confessional Poetry – Sylvia Plath, Red Hughes1970s – Post-modernism – Duffy, Dunn, Cope etc.
  2. 2. Homework – Mini-Lesson on how Love is presented in a Victorian Poet... Choose your poet and bring in 1 poem they wrote about love. • Summarise the poem. • What kinds of love are presented in the poem? • How does the writer use structure, form and language to present it? • Provide 2 interpretations of love in the poem (i.e. Do some research or provide a feminist vs Marxist reading) • How does it link to the context of Victorian Poetry? • What other poems could we link to?
  3. 3. Victorian Poets...Alfred Lord Tennyson (In Memoriam, Maud)Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Sonnets from the Portugese)Robert Browning (A Woman’s Last Word, My Last Duchess)Christina Rossetti (Goblin Market, Remember, In an Artist’s Studio)Emily Dickinson (He fumbles at your spirit, Wild Nights)Thomas Hardy (I said to Love, The Going, The Voice)
  4. 4. EpicA long story, told in hexameter, passed down originally through the oral tradition. Often involves mythological heroes, gods and nymphs. Famous epics:Homer – The Iliad and the OdysseyVirgil – The AeneidDante – The Divine ComedyMilton – Paradise Lost
  5. 5. What kind of love is presented in thefollowing pictures and key couples?
  6. 6. Paris and Helen of Troy Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus
  7. 7. Hector and Andromache Book 6 of The Iliad
  8. 8. Aeneas and Creusa Book II of The Aeneid.
  9. 9. What kind of love is presented in the following pictures?
  10. 10. Wordle of dramatic climax – what kind of love will be presented?
  11. 11. Written in 1712 Alexander Pope was a member of Queen Anne’s royal court and later George I. It was a time of pomp, richness and extravagance: the upper classes in particular were thought of as vain, superficial and wasting money. The aristocrats still held immense power and were considered to be ridiculous. This is the age of the Enlightenment – where order, intellectual control and reason are held much higher than spontaneity and imagination. Formal perfection and complete control of language – often with witty or satirical aims – was a major goal of the movement.
  12. 12. Two Households, Both alike in dignityAlexander Pope has attempted to mend the rift between two families at war through writing a long poem. Lord Petre has been accused by his former flirting partner, Arabella Fermor, of sneaking up behind her and stealing a curl of her hair without asking permission first. Arabella’s father, Lord Fermor, is obviously shocked and appalled by such radical independence and has since banned Lord Petre from seeing his daughter. Now both families are at war. Only Pope’s poem can save us from the unhumanity of such an argument.
  13. 13. Mock EpicMock-epics parody the high-flown and elaborate conventions of classical literature, particularly Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey.Humour is created through juxtaposing the great and the little, exaggerating the heroic until it becomes absurd and through the incongruity of the situation versus the style of rhetoric.Very popular during the Augustine period.
  14. 14. • Commentary• This canto is full of classic examples of Pope’s masterful use of the heroic couplet. In introducing Hampton Court Palace, he describes it as the place where Queen Anne “dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea.” This line employs a zeugma, a rhetorical device in which a word or phrase modifies two other words or phrases in a parallel construction, but modifies each in a different way or according to a different sense. Here, the modifying word is “take”; it applies to the paralleled terms “counsel” and “tea.” But one does not “take” tea in the same way one takes counsel, and the effect of the zeugma is to show the royal residence as a place that houses both serious matters of state and frivolous social occasions. The reader is asked to contemplate that paradox and to reflect on the relative value and importance of these two different registers of activity. (For another example of this rhetorical technique, see lines 157–8: “Not louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast, / when husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their last.”) A similar point is made, in a less compact phrasing, in the second and third verse-paragraphs of this canto. Here, against the gossip and chatter of the young lords and ladies, Pope opens a window onto more serious matters that are occurring “meanwhile” and elsewhere, including criminal trials and executions, and economic exchange.• The rendering of the card game as a battle constitutes an amusing and deft narrative feat. By parodying the battle scenes of the great epic poems, Pope is suggesting that the energy and passion once applied to brave and serious purposes is now expended on such insignificant trials as games and gambling, which often become a mere front for flirtation. The structure of “the three attempts” by which the lock is cut is a convention of heroic challenges, particularly in the romance genre. The romance is further invoked in the image of Clarissa arming the Baron—not with a real weapon, however, but with a pair of sewing scissors. Belinda is not a real adversary, or course, and Pope makes it plain that her resistance—and, by implication, her subsequent distress—is to some degree an affectation. The melodrama of her screams is complemented by the ironic comparison of the Baron’s feat to the conquest of nations.

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