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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Between the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries, fable—already a well-established didactic mode, often directed towards children—came increasingly to be used for satirical purposes. The work of three important writers—Aphra Behn, John Dryden, and Anne Finch—illustrates both the range and the particularity of fables during this period. While, collectively, these poets’ work differs greatly in terms of form, style, and appropriative methods, all three were strong royalists (later Jacobites) whose fables were devised to serve broadly pro-Stuart ends. This chapter investigates why fable rose to prominence during the fraught years before and after the 1688 Revolution, and how its literary properties were differentially exploited by Behn, Dryden, and Finch (given the varying political and publishing circumstances in which each was working). It also considers the reasons for the decline of the satirical fable in the mid-eighteenth century.

Keywords: fable, allegory, royalism, Jacobitism, satire, Behn, Dryden, Finch, didacticism, adaptation

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