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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers three important satirical subgenres used by Alexander Pope during the early years of his career: the mock-essay, the dramatic satire, and the mock-heroic poem. It covers his writing from Guardian 40 (1713) to Peri Bathous (1727), published the year before his first mature satire, The Dunciad (1728), when Pope’s satires unite in their use of burlesque and in attacking vain pretenders to knowledge. The works examined are both morally corrective and gleefully scurrilous, featuring (to borrow Émile Audra’s phrase) badinage gracieux and slapstick, equally implicated in high culture neoclassicism and gross travesty. Taken as a body, Pope’s early satires use the comic force of burlesque to mount an attack on false pride in knowledge—before proceeding further, however, it is worth pausing on that term, burlesque.

Keywords: burlesque, ephemera, Grub Street, intertextuality, typology, satire of false knowledge, mock-heroic, fancy

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