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Walking the Streets of Eighteenth-Century LondonJohn Gay's Trivia (1716)$
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Clare Brant and Susan E. Whyman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280728.001.0001

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Gay's Trivia: Walking the Streets of Rome

Gay's Trivia: Walking the Streets of Rome

(p.149) Gay's Trivia: Walking the Streets of Rome
Walking the Streets of Eighteenth-Century London

Susanna Morton Braund

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the concept of time, which is most frequently thought of as the province of the historian who looks for change and continuity over various periods. Based on literary theory and classical literature, it takes us back in time to the streets of Rome. John Gay expected that many of his readers would catch his classical allusions in his poem Trivia: or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London. The chapter helps us to experience that same pleasure, explaining how there is more than meets the eye in Trivia: citizens on the street and readers of the poem could see the streets of Rome beyond the streets of London. An original line by Gay can simultaneously be a reworking of a line from Juvenal: things are and are not what they seem. The chapter argues that in walking the literal streets of London, Gay shows that he knows how to walk the poetic streets of Rome.

Keywords:   London, Rome, John Gay, poem, streets, time, literary theory, classical literature, allusions

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