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Poetry of Opposition and RevolutionDryden to Wordsworth$
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Howard Erskine-Hill

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198121770

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198121770.001.0001

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The Rape of the Lock to The Dunciad

The Rape of the Lock to The Dunciad

(p.77) 3 The Rape of the Lock to The Dunciad
Poetry of Opposition and Revolution

Howard Erskine-Hill

Oxford University Press

When Pope published the five-canto version of The Rape of the Lock, on 4 March 1714, a reader who remembered the Miscellany poem would at once have noted three changes. A system of spirits had been added to the fable, apparent as early as Canto I, line 2.0. In keeping with this metaphysical expansion an underworld sequence, the visit to the Cave of Spleen, now dominated the aftermath of the rape with some ninety-three lines of further narrative. And now, immediately before the rape, another new narrative sequence, the card-game at Hampton Court, casts its own new light on the central act of the poem. The card-game repeatedly incites to political identification. Pope uses the contemporary pack in the style of Rouen, to suggest different monarchs and monarchies. Pope's Dunciad of 1728 and 1729 are visionary dream-poems, partly in that they are filled with the idea and rituals of royalty. Three levels of royalty, however, mingle entrancingly in Pope's dream-world.

Keywords:   Pope, The Rape of the Lock, poetry, The Dunciad, card game

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