Online Literary Criticism Collection
Sites about The Dunciad
Critical sites about The Dunciad
- The Laureate Dunces and the Death of the Panegyric
- “The final, 1743 version of The Dunciad, included amongst its galaxy of talent three poets-laureate: Nahum Tate (laureate 1692-1715), Laurence Eusden (1718-1730), and Colley Cibber (1730-1757). Pope’s attack on these lesser wits can be attributed to a combination of malice, revenge, and (proclaimed) satirical despair at impending cultural Armageddon. Little has been written about the work of this trio, and scarcely any of their poetry has been published since the early eighteenth century. It is nevertheless essential reading for the literary historian of the period. It was the laureate writings of Cibber and Eusden (and to a lesser degree, Tate), which killed off the panegyric, a much respected genre of poetry brought to high perfection by Dryden in the late seventeenth century. Whilst Tate maintained something of the genre’s honourable traditions, first Eusden and then Cibber reduced the noble form to an extraordinary mythologising and semi-deification of the undeserving George I and George II. And, while it is true that the Odes are sometimes tedious, usually pompous, and frequently ridiculous, they also afford a fascinating insight into the central, paranoid obsession of the times with the Succession to the British Crown.”
- Contains: Historical Context
- Author: Peter F. Heaney
- From: Early Modern Literary Studies 5.1 (May, 1999): 4.1-24
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Last Updated Apr 29, 2013