Rochester: The Poems in Context

Overview

John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester, is still commonly regarded as 'the wicked earl', and his reputation as a rake has imparted an air of dilettantism to his poetry. By contrast, Rochester: The Poems in Context emphasises the poet's sharp, restless intellect, a more powerful driving force in his poems than the sensual appetites stressed by previous critics. Marianne Thormahlen uncovers his familiarity with, and sly allusions to, events and leading characters in Restoration politics; his awareness of trends in ...
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Overview

John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester, is still commonly regarded as 'the wicked earl', and his reputation as a rake has imparted an air of dilettantism to his poetry. By contrast, Rochester: The Poems in Context emphasises the poet's sharp, restless intellect, a more powerful driving force in his poems than the sensual appetites stressed by previous critics. Marianne Thormahlen uncovers his familiarity with, and sly allusions to, events and leading characters in Restoration politics; his awareness of trends in science, theology and philosophy; his acute representations of contemporary mores; and his commitment to high standards in literary craftsmanship. As a result, a more complex picture of Rochester emerges - that of a serious artist who tackled major issues during a particularly turbulent period in English history. While Rochester's texts are always at the focus of the discussion, the book has much to offer readers whose main interest is in late seventeenth-century culture and civilisation rather than in Restoration literature. Among the issues reflected in Rochester's poems and addressed by the author are religious discord in seventeenth-century England, the position of women scholars and poets, military matters, statecraft and foreign affairs under Charles II, and developments in philosophy and science.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521024419
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
Cupid and Bacchus
1 Cupid and Bacchus 9
Men and Women
2 The love lyrics 29
3 'The Imperfect Enjoyment' and 'A Ramble in Saint James's Parke' 84
4 'A Letter from Artemiza in the Towne to Chloe in the Countrey' 104
Pride and Philosophy
5 Upon Nothing 141
6 'A Satyr against Reason and Mankind': the context 162
7 'A Satyr against Reason and Mankind': the argumentation 190
Court and Social
8 'Tunbridge Wells' 241
9 'Timon' 266
10 Court satires and lampoons 285
Craft and Art
11 'An Allusion to Horace' 309
12 The poems on Mulgrave and Scroope 337
Epilogue 357
Select bibliography 366
Index 373
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