The Garden and the City: Retirement and Politics in the Later Poetry of Pope 1731–1743
In his preface Maynard Mack writes, "Criticism in the case of literary figures is never entirely separable from literary history and biography; yet it is more or less separable, and the merit of this book, if it has any, lies in the two latter areas. If I am judged to be right about the profoundly political orientation of most of Pope's poems of the 30's and about there being a certain emblematic quality in his way of life at Twickenham whose shaping influence is also felt inside the poems, here may be an additional complexity of texture which criticism will wish to take into account."
In this work Mr. Mack explores the tension in Pope's life between Garden and City, between the poet's desire for seclusion and privacy and his concern for political and social issues. In a vivid and factual reconstruction, including many illustrations and contemporary documents, he presents the famous garden, grotto, and villa as a setting that both expressed Pope as a man and contributed to the dramatic personality who speaks to us in the satires and epistles. At the same time, he uncovers and elucidates a vein of political satire which is present in these poems to a degree not hitherto recognized. Retirement attitudes, Mr. Mack argues, combine with political attitudes to effect in all of Pope's later poetry a confrontation of Sir Robert Walople's England with a poet's country of the mind; "Pope's 'creation' of Twickenham constituted an act of the mythopoeic imagination and (to borrow a phrase from the manuals of religious meditation) a 'composition of place' without which he could not have written his mature poems as we have them."
Mr. Mack provides here a biographical and historical context that throws new light on the mature works of one of the great poets and satirists of English literature.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 360 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationMAYNARD MACK received his BA from Yale University in 1932 and his PHD in 1936. He joined the Department of Egnlish that year as an instructor and has taught there more or less continuously since. From 1962 to 64 he served as Director of the Division of Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, from 1965 to 68 as Chairman of the Department of English, and he became Sterling Professor in 1965. At present he is a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. His publications include essays on eighteenth-century subjects and on Shakespeare, a study of King Lear called King Lear in Our Time, and several of the volumes in the Twickenham Edition of Pope's Poetical Works. He is also editor of the two series, Twentieth Century Views and Twentieth Century Interpretations.
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