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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Alexander Pope’s moralizing satires belong to the Augustan style of free translation. But in one crucial respect, Pope acted more like the Latin continental commentators through whom many English readers approached Horace. He studied Horace for concealed philosophical meanings; he often detected danger, especially in Horace’s Epicurean philosophy of pleasure; and through contradiction, misdirection, or silence, Pope guided readers towards a more suitable moral or a seemingly innocuous understanding of what Horace said. This intellectual and supremely ambitious Pope is not the genteel, easily confused poet we know from the scholarship of the middle twentieth century. He does resemble the driven and often duplicitous Pope described by Victorian scholars. Meanwhile, earlier English translators for more than a century had been keenly alive to Horace’s philosophy of pleasure. Pope’s innovation was to intervene even more fully and decisively than earlier humanists or translators as he masked, reversed, or banalized Horace’s ideas.

Keywords: Alexander Pope, Horace, satire, epistle, classical, imitation, translation, philosophy, Epicurean, reception

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