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date: 11 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the period 1660–1740, major events in France and Britain (the beginning of Louis XIV’s personal reign, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution) stimulated comparisons with Augustus Caesar’s accession to power—a tendency connected with the Querelle des anciens et des modernes, and with cultural rivalry among modern nations. Poets including Boileau, Dryden, and Pope focused on the relationship between Augustus and Horace; they also reflected, often critically, on their own relation to living monarchs. The imitation of ancient poets, especially Horace, also allowed for a complex engagement with contemporary (or near-contemporary) poets, cast as lesser rivals. Meanwhile these poets’ theories of satire, expressed in verse and prose, raised questions straddling ethics and statecraft. For instance, are panegyric and satire ever entirely distinct? And under what conditions, if any, can a court poet render satire a force for the general good, and in that sense moral?

Keywords: Horace, Sermones, Boileau, Dryden, Pope, Voltaire, verse satire, panegyric, Louis XIV, court poet

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