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Annotating a career: from Pope's Homer to The Dunciad: from Madame Dacier to Madame Dacier by way of swift.

Pope's career has both a literary and political shape. It moves from Windsor Forest's (1713) Stuart, Bolingbrokean, Virgilian georgic optimism to the final Dunciad's (1743) Hanoverian, Walpolean, inverted epic pessimism. The benevolent, civilizing, imperial and commercial expansion after the Treaty of Utrecht requires echoes from Isaiah, the georgics, and many English poems celebrating the end of a long, divisive, bloody war triumphantly concluded by a Tory administration. The Dunciad in Four Books concludes with universal darkness burying the shards of a crumbling culture as the Britain of George II and Sir Robert Walpole returns to primeval darkness and chaos. Stuart Tory resurrection yields to Hanoverian Whig crucifixion.

This outline nonetheless can be supplemented by an equally rich and compelling epitome--namely, the movement from Pope's editorial machinery in his translation of the Iliad (1715-20) to the editorial machinery in his own epic, Dunciad (1728-43). The texts in this progress clearly overlap in part and in chronology: Pope began to circulate Proposals for a Translation of Homer's Iliad in 1713; the last edition of that translation in Pope's lifetime appeared in 1743 and like The Dunciad placed its notes at the foot of the page. For much of 1742, in fact, William Warburton helps Pope both to revise the preface and life of Homer and to conceptualize Book 4 of The Dunciad and write notes for it. Given such confluence, Pope scarcely could fail to think of his Iliad and final Dunciad as different if related paths to the epic way, each later guided by his "learned Friend." (1)

In the first case, Pope's annotations for the Iliad anchor and reflect a brilliant and learned young poet's maturing career; they also both exemplify and embody a large, vibrant, and civil world of European arts and letters. Pope submerges and cleanses various surly debates within the larger cause of a thriving poetic and intellectual tradition. This cause is further vivified by modern Pope's synthesizing voice and creative perceptions of how ancient Homer made his great epic. In 1742 George Turnbull warmly praised the notes as "true criticism" and the model of how to discuss the classics. Samuel Johnson later adds that Pope's notes "attract the reader by the pleasure of perusal" and "vary entertainment." (2)

When Pope argues it generally is muted and often is with Madame Anne Le Fevre Dacier, the learned, deservedly prominent French translator, annotator and polemicist whom, contrary to some recent remarks, he respectfully and collegially engages. (3) Avuncular Pope debates matriarchal Dacier and finds that they are related and share common traits. This was not an insight he could have made for his Dunciad and its disruption and disfunction rather than continuity and friendly fire.


Pope confidently guides the readers of his Iliad in appropriate directions. As he says regarding an interpretation, "I believe an impartial reader who considers the two places will be of the same opinion" as Pope and certain "ancient criticks." (4) He earns the right to expect such assent in several ways. For example, Pope's chief poetic citations are from Virgil and Milton; his chief supporting scholarly citations are from the twelfth-century Greek Bishop Eustathius and the eighteenth-century French Madame Dacier as virtual collaborators in Pope's difficult and extensive task. He also includes a vast body of other ancient and modern poets, commentators, editors, and parallel passages.

Pope's legion of references and authorities both illumines Homer and creates a narrator whose learning and fairness we come to trust and whose character we come to admire. Pope's catalogue of some 200 authorities from several nations ranges from Accius to Zenophanes, includes twenty three books of the Bible and representatives as different as Moses and Hobbes, Lucretius and St. Jerome, Aristotle and Tasso, Ovid and Milton, Euripides and Shakespeare. The authorities' chronological continuum extends from about 4,004 B.C.E., the date at which Archbishop Ussher argued that God created the world, to 1711 and 1712 with Madame Dacier's French translation and John Ozell and his associates' translation of much from Dacier. (5)

Perhaps more important, however, Pope's commentary is at once engaged and tactful, diligent and elegant. With the exception of some jibes at the "insolently dogmatical," "impertinent," and "cavilling" Scaliger (pp. 206, 505), Pope treats authorities with respect even when he disagrees. Like Jonathan Swift, Madam Dacier regarded Moderns such as Antoine Houdar de la Motte as scouts for invading hordes potentially able to overwhelm the Ancients' few defenders. Such energetic brutes must be destroyed. Though Pope was warned about becoming a civilian casualty, in 1715 he unilaterally disarms. For him these are food-fights among sibling enfants terribles who share many values. (6) Pope himself prefers Homer to Virgil, but as he says regarding a difference between Plutarch and Eustathius, he will "reconcile these two opinions" (p. 50). He thus generally includes rather than excludes. Two instances exemplify this even-handed response: Pope's treatment of the French "Moderns" in the querelle between the Ancients and the Moderns, and his treatment of Madame Dacier.


Madame Dacier's Houdar is the great Satan, a Modern fifth columnist in the Academie Francaise who could neither read Greek nor understand the Homeric poems he denigrated. Yet worse, his own truncated and rationalized version of the Iliad (1714) rewrites Homer--as, for Houdar, with the sadly misguided battle between Hector and Achilles. French neoclassical critics know that a hero cannot run from his opponent: hence after Houdar's Hector throws his spear, he circles Troy's walls while the pursuing Achilles dodges objects hurled by Trojans above. Hector retrieves a weapon, nobly battles Achilles, and dies as modern and ancient poet required. (7) In Des Causes de la corruption du goust (1714) Madame Dacier indignantly refers to Houdar as one who exercises "une licence qui va ouvrir la porte a des desordres ... dangereux pour les Lettres & pour la Poesie & l'Academie." (8)

Madame Dacier indeed regards Houdar as a turn-coat subverter of French and ancient literary greatness. (9) More tolerant Pope regards Houdar as generally helpful. Thus we hear that he "very judiciously observes" how "exquisite" Homer's art was in making Achilles indifferent to the death about which he has been forewarned (1.464; p. 66). Pope later observes that Houdar's "late discourse upon Homer very justly animadverts" that if Eustathius and Madame Dacier are right to hear ambiguity in battle orders, "it is a grievous fault in Homer" who should have known that clarity is necessary at such a time (4.352; p. 203). Pope even defends Houdar against Madame Dacier's strictures when they seem to him wrong: "in pure justice," he objects, in book three of Des Causes de la corruption "... she triumphs over M. de la Motte, as if he had omitted the sense and moral of Homer in that place, when in truth he only left out her own [unHomeric] interpolation" (5.1101; p. 291). (10) No wonder that in 1716 the Journal literaire considers Pope and Houdar generally "de la meme opinion" regarding Homer, though they approach him from different points of view. No wonder as well that in 1719 the Journal des scavans also says that in certain respects Houdar "est ... d'accord avec M. Pope." (11) Pope thus regards Houdar and the other French Moderns as a legitimate part of the debate regarding Homer's meaning and value. Accordingly, at 9.23 of the Iliad Pope discusses divided opinions whether Agamemnon's speech reflects his real sentiments or tests his army. Pope cites Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Madame Dacier on the latter side and adds: "She takes no notice that Eustathius is of the contrary opinion; as is also Monsieur de la Motte, who argues as if he had read them" (p. 451). Pope can reject Houdar's wisdom, as he does when he faults Homer for Ulysses' repetition of Agamemnon's offers to Achilles (9.342; p. 463); but a few lines earlier Pope records Houdar's positive remark concerning the ambassadors' speeches to Achilles and adds: "no testimony can be more glorious to Homer than this [praise], which comes from the mouth of an enemy" (9.295; p. 463).

If Pope thought Houdar an enemy to Homer, however, he clearly did not think Houdar an enemy to Pope. Houdar was in fact a friend to the sort of polished exchange, even in disagreement, that Pope still hoped possible between the poet as amiable competitor with past greatness and the scholar-critic as evaluator of the attempt. For all of Houdar's qualitative distance from Homer, Pope surely would have agreed with Archbishop Fenelon's letter to Houdar: "on ne peut pas trop louer les Modernes qui font de grands efforts pour surpasser les Anciens. Un si noble emulation promet beaucoup" (p. 77, Reflexions).

Houdar regards emulation of the past as consistent with courtesy in the present. His stern but reasonably temperate Reflexions sur la critique praise Madame Dacier and see their exchanges "comme les meilleurs amis [qui] disputent tous les jours sans s'aliener" (pp. 6-7). Though he objects to her ridicule of passages out of context (p. 131) he will kiss the rod when proven wrong (p. 288); he concludes with the hope that "le fruit de notre dispute est une amitie sincere & reciproque" and that "la diversite des opinions ne doit jamais aliener les coeurs" (p. 295). Madame de Lambert rightly observes that Houdar responds with dignity and decorum (bienseance) to the "Critique amere de Madame Dacier." The Abbe Trublet also praises Houdar's moderation and courtesy that helped to convince many disturbed by his anti-Homeric "Discours sur Homere" in 1714. (12)

We recall that for Madame Dacier Houdar was a threat to civilization's tenuous hold in France. She shall fight him on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields, in the streets and the hills and, certainly and by proxy through her husband Andre, in the Academie to which she thought Houdar at the least unfaithful in his criticism of Homer. Pope succintly epitomizes his own and many others' response to such combat. On 1 September 1718 he tells the Duke of Buckingham: "doubtless, as to Violence, the Lady has infinitely the better of the Gentleman. Nothing can be more polite, dispassionate or sensible, than Mr. de la Motte's manner of managing the dispute" (Corr. 1:492).

Pope probably read or read in these exchanges at about the time he was writing his own notes so pleasing to Johnson and perhaps so helpful as a guide toward the tone appropriate for ameliorated literary quarrels. However that may be, throughout Pope's commentary his synthetic method urges both fairness to different points of view and respectful evaluation of them so long as they are in turn offered with respect. Here are some components of such a note in which Pope surveys readings of "Let down our golden everlasting chain": "The various opinions of the ancients concerning this passage are collected by Eustathius.... Some think.... Others affirm.... Plato ... says.... The Stoicks will have it.... Others ... imagine." Pope himself then adds: "But I fancy a much better interpretation" which, in turn, is drawn from Egyptian astronomy, Pythagoras, Macrobius, and his own poet's sense of how to read the section without "strained interpretation" (8.25; pp. 402-3).

Pope as commentator also is a grateful and admiring colleague who often thanks and acknowledges Madame Dacier as an eminent predecessor under whose banner, he later says, he gladly fights. (13) Pope's annotations include many terms like these: she "very well observes" (1.713; p. 71); "it is well observ'd by" her (2.155; p. 112); "it is ingeniously remark'd by" her (3.80; p. 157); "in her excellent preface to Homer" (4.336; p. 201); "It is finely said by M. Dacier" (5.27; p. 260); she is "in the right" (6.317; p. 317); "Dacier very justly observes" (17.731; p. 845); she "rightly observes" (20.75; p. 957); and "We may observe with Dacier" (22.180; p. 1034). Nevertheless, he thinks her more beholden to her sources than she admits (pp. 47, 107, 288, 374, 462, 956), sometimes objects to her interpretations or her interpretive oversights, regards her as among the more ingenious critics who complicate the text's clear meaning and, in the nature of things, disagrees with various remarks. (14) He also disagrees because he works on a parallel not a competing plane. Pope is a translator, scholar, editor, and annotator; but above all he is a poet reading and responding to Homer's poem and helping us to read and respond to Homer's poem. (15) I offer two examples of such a difference and the consequent if then briefly low-keyed literary quarrel.

Madame Dacier's Preface to Homer is variously defensive. She fears an already collapsing modern world that denigrates Homer; she insists that prose is superior to poetry for translation; and perhaps as a result she also insists that Homer is most valuable not as a poet giving delight but as a moralist giving instruction. Homer's language is indeed attractive, but "his Poems afford Things more admirable, and valuable; a profound Knowledge; notable Footsteps of the remotest Antiquity; a prodigious Insight into all Arts; a charming Variety of Customs and Characters; perfect Models of true Eloquence in all Sorts of Discourse; Maxims taken from the soundest Philosophy, and, in fine, a wonderful Concurrence both in Style and Notions with the Holy Bible." (16) Poetic discourse, she insists "is only subservient to something more Noble ... the Delicacy and Energy of Homer's Turns and Thoughts" (1:xxxix-x1). The "ultimate End of Epic Poetry" is not pleasure but "the Reader's Instruction" (1:1vii).

This emphasis on instruction requires a prose translation, for poets necessarily and wrongly change Homer's sense to accommodate their needs. "Poets translated into Verse, cease to be Poets." A good poetic translation of Homer would be a "Miracle; but I question, whether any Poet, who has thoroughly read the Original, and fully discover'd all its Strength and Beauty, will venture at it" (1:xxxii). Such dogma must have been both a challenge and an insult to Pope who, like many other English contemporaries, thought that the French language in general and her version in particular were inferior to English (Iliad notes, pp. 418, 420).

Pope meets this challenge by producing an extraordinarily great poem and secondarily by urging Homer's role as a poet who succeeds by evoking pleasure. Madame Dacier writes that Nestor's speech in Book I "heightens the Character of Kings to Admiration" by insisting upon the subject's obedience to his monarch (1.28n); Pope emphasizes its role in the poem's plot and creation of character (1.339; p. 63). Madame Dacier thinks that the first book's absence of similes testifies to Homer's need to preserve simplicity until "after the Action is well expos'd, and the Reader instructed" (1.54n); Pope says that this refined observation may be true, but "I cannot think the book had been the worse, tho' he had thrown in as many similes as Virgil has in the first AEneid" (1.778; p. 73). Madame Dacier compares the Trojan princes' praise of Helen with Holofernes' soldiers praising Judith, to which Pope says: "tho' there be a resemblance in the words, the beauty is no way parallel; the grace of this consisting in the age and character of those who speak it" (3.203; pp. 162-63).

These disagreements were inevitable for a variety of reasons, not the least being that Pope was less hagiographic than Madame Dacier regarding Homer, whose religion and heroes' merciless conduct Pope deplored. As he said in 1725 when defending himself from her attacks on him, "I confest that in my own opinion the world was mended on some points, such as the custom of putting whole nations to the sword, condemning Kings and their families to perpetual slavery, and a few others. Madam Dacier judges otherwise in this." He also recognizes the virtually religious zeal behind her pronouncements: "I offer opinions, and she delivers doctrines." (17)

The disagreements were indeed part of the fabric of Pope's annotations and their dialogue with his French colleague. She may be an authority to be accepted or rejected, but she is an associate in a shared enterprise who always deserves serious consideration, a respect one laments she brutally denied to Pope when later given the opportunity. His own attitude is well described in a note to the conclusion of Book 3. Venus transports the defeated Paris to Helen's bed-chamber where she mocks but then carnally solaces him. Pope's note recounts scholarly disagreement regarding this erotic and voyeuristic scene. Madame Dacier blames Paris's behavior, and Pope blames Helen's behavior, after which he adds a verbally ambiguous remark that applies to the ancient as well as modern couple who are side-by-side: "Methinks when this Lady's observation and mine are laid together, the best that can be made of them is to conclude, that since both the sexes have their frailties, it would be well for each to forgive the other" (3.551; p. 171).

After years of abuse and increasing political alienation, however, such forgiveness is utterly absent from The Dunciad and its notes. There Pope's confident synthesizing voice surrenders to a cacophony of uncomprehending pedants, or to Pope's own notes that show the disparity between text and sub-text, real Pope and Dunciad Pope; or to defensive notes which justify and explain authorial anger. Pope behind them is willing to quarrel as long as he can, but the tables have been turned, there is no respected colleague to provide civilized debate, and what had been collegial and general becomes adversarial and personal. Widely scattered and unrepresentative hostile notes in the Iliad become representative notes like this in The Dunciad: "Gildon, a writer of criticisms and libels ... blasphemous ... abused Mr. P. very scandalously in an anonymous Pamphlet." (18) Here is a culture at odds with itself and a poet at odds with his culture. Pope in part communicates that arrested dialogue by means of a new kind of dialogue. Pope rejected Madame Dacier's view of the world while he wrote his notes to the Iliad. By the late 1720s he changes his mind and his tune. In The Dunciad he adapts some of Madame Dacier's and Swift's attitudes towards the Moderns and some of Swift's satiric conventions and assumptions in A Tale of A Tub (1704).


In ways The Dunciad Variorum of 1729 with its reduced imbalance between Pope's signalled sub-textual "Imitations" and "Remarks" better exemplifies his design than the final Dunciad in Four Books of 1743. The discursive "Remarks" in its final book outnumber the "Imitations" by almost twenty-to-one. (19) By then William Warburton had influenced the ill Pope, keen to add ecclesiastical gravitas to his notes, so many of which Warburton wrote, shared, and dulled by not recognizing the delicate symbiotic relationship between poem and apparatus. That was not the case in 1729, when Swift was Pope's muse and received a ten line dedication (1.17-26) to help perpetuate their friendship and demonstrate their shared values. (20) Pope's initial note to the Appendix of The Dunciad Variorum also claims that Swift snatched the first draft from the fire and thus could be called the "Author of the Poem" (TE 5:201n). If so, Pope responds by snatching several of Swift's own satiric devices that variously enhance his poem's humor and growing darkness.

Swift's Tale of a Tub begins with a list of other treatises by the same author: an Apology (in the fifth edition), the bookseller's dedication to Lord Somers, the bookseller to the reader, the author's Epistle Dedicatory to Prince Posterity, and a Preface. The same volume also includes the related Battle of the Books and Mechanical Operation of the Spirit. Pope in turn loads his Dunciad Variorum with supporting extra-poetic front and concluding matter: an Advertisement, a Letter to the Publisher, Testimonies of Authors, Martinus Scriblerus of the Poem, and the Arguments to all four books. The third and then concluding book adds M. Scriblerus Lectori, mock errata, seven Appendices, the author's Declaration, and an Index. With this long train, Colley Cibber complained, Pope seeks to make "one think the whole Empire of Parnassus were in Arms to make you King of it!" (21)

Pope's Iliad version also embodies amplitude: it begins with a Preface and "An Essay on the Life, Writings, and Learning of Homer." After the final book we see an Index of Persons and Things with numerous subdivisions, and then a Poetical Index followed by a complex Index of Arts and Sciences. Each of the twenty four books is graced by "Observations" whose thousands of individual glosses include small critical gems. I must suspect that Pope wants us to see these sets of contrasting scholia as part of a darkening continuum. The Homer apparatus is unified by Pope's synthetic, optimistic voice within a living tradition. The fragmented apparatus of The Dunciad has different and competing voices of which a recognizable and outnumbered "Alexander Pope" is but one. Harmony becomes cacophony; continuity becomes disruption.

Pope magnifies Swift's use of notes as well. In the fifth edition (1710) he mischievously includes his enemy William Wotton in the Tale's explanatory footnotes, thus forcing him to share in the thing he hates. Pope adapts this convention both for offensive and defensive purposes. For example, he immediately creates a mock Bentley to speak pedantic and petulant nonsense consistent with his voice as commentator on Paradise Lost. There Bentley confidently corrects errors, he argues, introduced by a compositor and by a self-aggrandizing editor who interpolated his own inferior lines into blind Milton's poem. That Bentley corrects, emends and improves Paradise Lost according to his own lights; and he regularly excoriates the ignorant editor bold enough to challenge the great man now repaired by another great man. A brief compendium of Bentley's notes includes phrases like these: "The Measure of this Verse is wrong"; "very dry this, and jejune"; "Glory is improper here.... Better therefore in my Opinion thus"; "Better thus"; "who will not believe the Author gave it thus?"; "These few passages therefore must be alter'd." (22)

Pope's Bentley in the Dunciad is the real Bentley's kissing-cousin. Even in the first book's first note he scolds a mock-Theobald for thinking that the Dunciad should have a medial e, as in Dunceiad (TE 5:267n); he claims that the Dunciad originally was printed "in a foreign Country ... notorious for blunders" (TE 5:268n); and he wonders why Scriblerus could make an obvious error (TE 5:270 n.15). By The Dunciad in Four Books Bentley's character as editorial grump and rectifier of others' blunders is made plain in his gloss of 1.219, "Cibberian forehead," which he knows to be a misreading in spite of contrary evidence: "So indeed all the MSS read, but I make no scruple to pronounce them all wrong.... Read, therefore, at my peril, Cerberian forehead. This is perfectly classical, and, what is more, Homerical" (TE 5:286n).

Pope also reprints some of his own detractors' malicious attacks that justify his severity. However risky, publicizing such stuff allows us to read the Dunciad's notes as an apologia in which Pope reflects upon abuse and defends himself. His response is muted when set against the excesses of Dennis and Gildon. For them, Pope's deformity "is the mark of God and Nature upon him, to give us warning that we should hold no society with him, as a creature not of our original, nor of our [Adamic] species ... but from the Devil" (2.134n). This long note covers more than two pages. It allows Pope to use his enemies' words to condemn them from their own mouths and further justify his harsh but relatively restrained response: "It is admirably observ'd by Mr. Dennis against Mr. Law, p. 33. `That the language of Billingsgate can never be the language of Charity, nor consequently of Christianity'" (2.134n). By implication, Dennis and Gildon are diabolical to call Pope diabolical and thus are enemies to the Christian dispensation they pretend to revere.

These devices' satiric energy, however, vex rather than threaten their victims. To raise the ante, Pope takes a more lethal Swiftian device--the rhetoric of annihilation so different from the rhetoric of accommodation and preservation in the notes to the Iliad.

We see such rhetoric in A Tale of a Tub's Epistle Dedicatory to Prince Posterity. The author there complains that in spite of the vast numbers of modern authors Time soon will ask "where they are? and what is become of them? and pretend it a Demonstration that there never were any, because they are not then to be found." Such ephemeral authors so "escape our Memory, and delude our Sight" that "the Memorial of them was lost among Men, their Place was no more to be found." Nor is historical or personal memory to be found within the putative wits. The Hack scolds Homer for not knowing the Church of England and would tell more about the brothers' adventures, but the details, which "have now slid out of my Memory, are lost beyond all Hopes of Recovery." (23)

Pope embraces this attractively frightening trope. We hear that Moore, Breval, Morrice, and Bond are not real or are fictitious (2.46, 118). Bond supposedly satirized Pope but, we hear in Swiftian interrogatives, "where is such a Satire to be found? where was such a Writer ever heard of? ... depend on it no such authors ever lived: All phantoms!" (2.118). Others never "will reach posterity" (2.116n); Blackmore "has not for many years been so much as named, or even thought of among writers" (2.258, 256n); still others have "never [been] seen by our author" (2.268n) or cannot be remembered (2.293n); or would be heard of no more if not kept alive by Pope's satire (3.175n-76n). As for the many poets who so "boldly promised to themselves Immortality.... I find the one half to be already dead, and the other in utter darkness" (TE 5:340n, to 4.6). Moreover, as Pope later glosses "Wits have short Memories, and Dunces none" (4.620), "This seems to be the reason why the Poets, whenever they give us a Catalogue, constantly call for help on the Muses, who, as the Daughters of Memory, are obliged not to forget any thing" (4.620n; TE 5:406n).

Swift's savage fun in the Tale also made plain that madness was alive in the land. Section nine in particular adapts the principal of ad exemplum regis, in which madness dominates the state and appears in kings, aristocrats, generals, clerics, and omnipresent transient popular writers, all of whom can badly damage life, institutions, and letters.

Like Swift, Pope understood that small matters can ravage great states--as, he says, the Dutch found when "a single Water-Rat" undermined a dyke and flooded "a great Part of their Provinces" (3.337n). Whether or not this alludes to the Hanover rat supposed to have crossed the water with George I, for Pope the monarch and elite are responsible for the nation's moral, intellectual, and artistic health. (24) The Dunciad's notes amplify the text's complaints regarding abuse of such power. He begins his Dunciad Variorum by saying that the "great Patricians ... your selves inspire, / These wond'rous works" of Dulness (1.3-4; see also 2.1322), and in 1743 he changes these lines so that the great have become the "instruments" of Dulness (1.3; TE 5:269). (25) Indeed, we hear in Book 3, "persons of the first quality in England" encouraged the decay of modern theater by frequent attendance at farces (3.229n).

Such instrumentality had graver implications still when one rises from patrician and quality to the throne. Pope is clear about his theory of causation: inherently fragile culture requires constant vigilance at all levels but especially from the crown, the nominal center of value and imitation. The absolute Queen Dulness seeks universal monarchy, and when she colonizes Britain will be "Proud to my list to add one Monarch more" (4.600). Pope's notes thus refer to heads of state's aberrations and harm done to their own or to other nations.

Dulness views the darkening world and in the East sees the great wall of China. "Chi-Ho--ami-ti," the sub-text reads, "destroyed all the books and learned men of that empire" (3.69n). Thereafter, "The Caliph, Omar I. having conquer'd AEgypt, caus'd his General to burn the Ptolamaean Library" (1.73n-74n). "Mahomet began his Conquests" in Phoenicia and Syria "where Letters are said to have been invented" (3.88n). Pope Gregory's "excess of zeal" leads him "among the rest, to have burn'd Livy" (3.94n), and other Popes so avidly destroyed Roman temples and statues "that the Goths scarce destroyed more Monuments of Antiquity out of Rage, than these out of Devotion" (3.101). (26) If a single water rat's depredations can deluge provinces, a monarch's depredations can deluge nations and their intellectual heritage.

This concept returns us and Pope to the fear and anger in Madame Dacier's own Des Causes de la corruption du goust which both anticipates Pope's gloom in the Dunciad and elaborates on the fear of barely defeated darkness so present in the sun-king's reign. For example, Boileau's Art poetique (1674) seeks to shape a world just emerging from what he calls the capricious, gross, confused, grotesque, pedantic, falsely proud putative renaissance: "Enfin Malherbe vint; & le premier en France, / Fit sentir dans les Vers une juste cadence." In 1722 Claude Brosette thus glossed these lines: "la plupart des vers Francois qui ete faits avant Malherbe etoient plutot Gothique que Francois." (27) For the French Ancients such gothicism always lurked at the door even when one closed the windows. A strong monarch and his strong institutions were necessary to keep order and support the scholars and poets who in turn support him and the state. As Marc Fumaroli well puts it, "L'Academie chante la louange du roi, mais c'est aussi elle-meme qu'elle reconnait en lui." (28) This circular structure was made tangible in Louis XIV's protection of the Academie Francaise one of whose functions, Madame Dacier believed, was to reward and encourage scholarship that connected the Graeco-Roman past to the French present. Since the king is the father of his people, corrupters of the people's minds commit symbolic regicide and infanticide and are the state's enemies.

Madame Dacier's Houdar plays that role all too well. She refers to Houdar's version of the Iliad as a horrible mutilation by Homer's great enemy (p. 4). The poem and his discourse on Homer make him a dispenser of poison and a corrupter of youth (p. 9), an enemy of ordered government (pp. 9-10), literature, and poetry and a threat to France's international reputation for good taste (pp. 12-13). By implication, he also is a parricide, since he attacks Homer as the father of poetry (p. 3). Yet worse, he operates from the Academie Francaise, "ce Corps si celebre, qui doit estre le rempart de la Langue, des Lettres, & du bon Goust" (p. 32). Many of Madame Dacier's 614 pages include such comments concerning the impious Houdar. She concludes by asking him to join with her in the interest of poetry against an "ennemi commun, ... un phalange invincible" otherwise capable of making "grands ravages" against Homer and his superior values (p. 614).

Madame Dacier's contemporaries noted and respected her emphasis on the classics as a positive educational force. The Jesuit Memoires de Trevoux observes of her Des Causes de la corruption du goust: she regards youth as "ce qu'il y a de plus sacre dans l'Etat." Corrupting them is "infiniment plus dangereuse que celle du gout." Houdar's flimsy operas and denigration of Homer are "spectacles licentieux alterent autant le gout que les moeurs." (29)

Here Pope surely would have found foreign precedent for his various fears--of, for example, a corrupt and corrupting stage in works by a highly placed member of a nominal intellectual community. Colley Cibber as Poet Laureat assumes the role of Madame Dacier's Houdar, of emblem of decline in a declining nation potentially hostile to creative intelligence. His mother Dulness smilingly says: "revive the Wits! / But murder first, and mince them all to bits" (TE 5:353; 4.119-20). Like Madame Dacier as well, Pope fears the desecration of youth. The longest section of The Dunciad in Four Books concerns the dangers of a crippling educational system (4.135-274) in which the Bentley figure moves from sub-text to text, from threatening to misinterpret the poem to dominating it and its future by dominating childrens' minds. He will "Bind rebel Wit, and double chain on chain, / Confine the thought to exercise the breath; / And keep them in the pale of Words till death" (TE 5:357; 4.158-60).

In one of the odder paradoxes of eighteenth-century letters, Madame Dacier has served three principal purposes for Pope: she begins as the vernacular annotator to whom he was intellectually indebted but from whom he significantly differed in tone and design; she then becomes his enemy when she savagely attacks what she thinks is his Preface to Homer and evokes Pope's angry and effective defence of his reputation; she finally suggests a paradigm for the causes of the corruption of taste in which her dark view of the world anticipates Pope's own and reinforces Swift's, to whom Pope was demonstrably indebted and from whom he also needed somewhat to distance himself.

Pope's protest against attacks upon culture indeed signals a variation from Swift who is at least as concerned with threats to the Church of England and, later, to the Irish nation. Pope's canvas is larger, his evocation of ancient and modern achievement is broader, and in its way is more ominous. Pope needed both to portray that threat and to dissociate himself from the threateners. He does this in part by using notes to reprint the relevant portions of major texts bizarrely imitated above and thereby separates himself from the world he paints. (30) Here are the works and values in which he still believes and, in 1729 at least, still thinks distantly possible to preserve. (31) His method is about the same with citations from the Bible, Milton and other exemplars of English literary achievement, and the classics, all of which collectively anthologize much great thought and letters. I shall, though, cite two instances from the Aeneid. These alienate Pope from normless Dunces, ally him with normative poets and, in the first instance at least, deviate from the generally temperate and civil tone of the notes to the Iliad.

In Book 2 Edmund Curll and Bernard Lintot engage in a mock-epic foot race. Curll briefly falls into a puddle of excrement and is "Obscene with filth" (2.71). The note contrasts the epic games in Homer and Virgil with the necessarily vulgar language in Pope's own epic games adapted "to the meaner degree of Booksellers. In Homer and Virgil Ajax and Nisus, the persons drawn in this plight are Heroes; whereas here they are such, with whom it had been great impropriety to have join'd any but vile ideas" appropriate for libellous booksellers who "understand no delicate satire" (2.71n). Pope memorializes the heroic with whom he associates himself, while denigrating the vile, with which he associates dung.

We see a comparable but more serious act in the Pisgah sight in Book 3. Pope there adapts Virgil's familiar scene in which Anchises shows Aeneas the great future of great Rome. Aeneas' imperial line culminates in the divine Caesar Augustus who will restore a golden Saturnian age in Latium and extend the empire to the farthest ends of the earth (6.791-94). The familiar passage had been discussed in Addison's Guardian, No. 138 (1714), and was of course duly annotated as the completion of divine prophecy on behalf of resurrected Troy. In Pope's world of George Augustus the stage is in decline, Theobald thinks he can translate Aeschylus, literary abortion abounds, the once excoriated Bavius has pride of place, and a dunce's succession appears imminent:
   This, this is He, foretold by ancient rhymes,
   Th' Augustus born to bring Saturnian times:
   Beneath his reign shall Eusden wear the bays,
   Cibber preside Lord-Chancellor of Plays.


By quoting the Latin counterpart in his note, Pope has us join him in contrasting lead and gold, Caesar Augustus and George Augustus, Aeneid and Dunciad; he also preserves the gold by preserving the past for himself and for his reader as allies in wars of preservation. Learning has not yet flown the shore (3.318, 329-33), and Pope acknowledges his own collegial enterprise of translating the Odyssey with Broome (3.328).

That reference recalls Pope's Homer. Even in 1720 Alexander Pope saw that the world lay both all behind him and all before him. His self-confidence allowed synthesis, problems to be mastered, and argument as friendly debate among equals in a coherent republic of letters in which Madame Dacier's notes are emulative spurs. By the time of the Dunciad he shifts from the tones of Madame Dacier's Homer to her Des Causes de la corruption du goust and to Swift as guides. Pope moves from affirmation to defense, from a flowering and coherent to a fragmented and collapsing western tradition, and from the Iliad faithfully recorded to the Aeneid and Paradise Lost faithfully reversed.

Whatever the dark precedents and influences, however, even as an apocalyptic satirist Pope insists on evoking norms, whether subtextual or subliminal. Swift despaired about the human condition and raged about corruption in his Church and in British politics. Madame Dacier despaired about the intellectual condition and raged about corruption in the Academie Francaise. Pope was of course excluded from the English Church and the French Academie; and for all his pretenses to Horatian retirement he was most comfortable in the quotidian world of apparently rectifiable failure--of, that is, the world of the formal verse satirist who offers a virtue to correct a vice. By 1743 Pope knew that he would fail and knew that he must stay vocal for as long as he could in order to preserve desirable literary and moral values for as long as he could. Even the grim end of the fourth book of The Dunciad thus includes a note from Warburton inspired to show Pope's superiority to Shaftesbury's irreligion (TE 5:409; 4.650n). Even the concluding "Universal Darkness buries all" alludes to Milton's great epic of creation, fall, divine love, and forgiveness and to Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV.

Pope became a satirist through internal necessity and response to a world he needed to resist and correct. He paid a stiff price for such dubious employment in a losing and perhaps misguided cause. Along the way, though, he briefly stiffened the spine of co-believers and provided a model of principled poetic aggression in defense of culture. He thereby exemplified the accuracy of William Warburton's rare perceptive gloss on The Dunciad. Satire alone of the muses, he says, "is unconquerable, never to be silenced, when truly inspired and animated ... from above for this very purpose, to oppose the kingdom of Dulness to her last breath" (TE 5:344n; 4.39). Warburton wrote that in 1742, just one year before the final printing of Pope's Iliad translation and one year before his Dunciad in Four Books. That happy juxtaposition also illumines the unhappy shape of Pope's career and one reason why Warburton briefly rose to his subject.


(1) The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, ed. George Sherburn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956), 4:442, referred to hereafter as Corr. For Pope's other letters to Warburton in 1742 regarding the revised Iliad or Dunciad, see 4:384, 393,400 and 400 n.3, 407, 427-28, 429, 433, and 434.

(2) Turnbull, Observations Upon Liberal Education (London, 1742),pp. 436-37; "Pope" (1781) in The Lives of the English Poets by Samuel Johnson, LL.D., ed. George Birkbeck Hill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905), 3:240. Johnson also agrees that the notes have too much "unseasonable levity and affected gaiety" as well as "too many appeals ... to the ladies" (3:240). Johnson already had made plain the at once collegial and competitive nature of Pope's notes: "Something might be gathered from Dacier; but no man loves to be indebted to his contemporaries, and Dacier was accessible to common readers. Eustathius was therefore necessarily consulted" (3:115).Johnson is aware of the notes' migration from the rear to the foot of the page where they are "more easily consulted" (3:111-12).

(3) For remarks concerning Pope as trivializing or misogynistic see Valerie Rumbold, Women's Place in Pope's World (Cambridge U. Press, 1989), p. 163 (trivial), and Claudia N. Thomas, Alexander Pope and His Eighteenth-Century Women Readers (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1994), p. 51 (misogyny). See also Carolyn D. Williams, Pope, Homer, and Manliness: Some Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Classical Learning (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 146-53. Williams observes that Broome, as part of Pope's "team" (p. 153), at one point was "gratuitously misogynistic" (pp. 152) and that Madame Dacier "could justifiably have suspected mutiny in the ranks" (p. 153). Williams, though, cites notes to the Odyssey in English, which Madame Dacier of course could not have known: she was dead when that Odyssey appeared, and could not read English. Pope preferred Andre Dacier while still thinking highly of Madame Dacier. See Corr. 1:492, 1 September 1718: "I cannot think quite so highly of the Lady's learning, tho' I respect it very much." Pope is responding to the Duke of Buckingham's earlier letter in which he prefers Madame Dacier's view of Homer to Houdar de la Motte's (Corr. 1:485-87). Like many others, Pope and Bathurst are troubled by Madame Dacier's violent and counterproductive response to Houdar. Their own letters exemplify collegial exchange in spite of significant disagreements. Pope took such exchange seriously and accepted Spence's fair criticisms of his Odyssey version, or partial version, in his Essay on the Odyssey of 1726 and 1727. "In him," Johnson says, "Pope had the first experience of a critick without malevolence, who thought it as much his duty to display beauties as expose faults; who censured with respect and praised with alacricity." Spence, and peripherally Pope, profited from this engagement (Lives, 3:143).

The Ozell translation of Homer was at least in part from Madame Dacier's Iliad, included her notes and had recently appeared; she thus is a serious competitor Pope must supersede for purposes of commerce and vanity. See n.14 within. The same applies to Madame Dacier's attitude towards Pope, by whom she could not enjoy being displaced in any way. She had read Antoine (according to the British Library catalogue; Andre according to the Bibliotheque Nationale catalogue) Robert Perelle's partial and inaccurate Traduction de la premiere partie de la preface de l'Homere Anglois de M. Pope (1718) and wrongly thought herself and Homer slighted by a foreign enemy masquerading as a putative ally. Given her unfair attack upon him at the end of volume three of the second edition of her Iliad (1719), Pope was justifiably angry. See the "Postscript to the Odyssey" in The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, vol. 10, The Odyssey of Homer Books XIII-XXIV,, ed. Maynard Mack et al. (Yale U. Press, 1967), pp. 391-97, referred to hereafter as TE 10, Odyssey. See also notes 6, 8, and 9 within. The fullest biographical discussion of Madame Dacier still is Fern Farnham, Madame Dacier Scholar and Humanist (Monterey, Cal.: Angel Press, 1976). The fullest recreation of her intellectual context is Bibliotecha di Cultura 255, Giovanni Saverio Santangello, Madame Dacier, una filologa nella `crisi' (1672-1720) (Rome: Bulzoni editore, 1984). Santangello discusses Madame Dacier and Pope on pp. 216-23, 464-68. Madame Dacier appears as well in Joan DeJean, Ancients Against Moderns:. Culture Wars and the Making of a Fin de Siecle (U. of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. 70-71, 97-99, 104-5, 175-76n.47.

(4) The Iliad of Homer Translated by Alexander Pope, ed. Steven Shankman (London: The Penguin Group, 1996), p. 735, book 15, line 298. All subsequent citations to Pope's translation are from this edition that uses 1743 as its copy text. Parenthetical references are either to the page itself, or to the book and line in Pope's text, followed by the page number in Shankman, here as 15.298, p. 735.

(5) For Archbishop James Ussher, see The Annals of the Old and New Testament with The Synchronismus of Heathen Story to the Destruction of Hiervsalem by the Romanes (London, 1658), p. 1. The year 4,004 was the first year of the world, the 4,004th year before Christ, and the 710th year of the Julian Period. See also his The Annals of the World. Deduced from The Origin of Time (London, 1658), p. 1. Each work is a version of Annales veteris et novi testamenti (1650). Even those who did not believe in such proximate origins believed in a relatively recent world. Thomas Burnet argued that humanity sprang from Adam and Eve, "and this within the compass of six thousand years." See his The Sacred Theory of the Earth (1684), intro. Basil Willey (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1965), p. 43, chapter 4; see also p. 23, chapter 1 and p. 26, chapter 2. This reprint is based on the 1691 second edition.

(6) On 11 August 1718 the Duke of Buckingham tells Pope that Madame Dacier or Houdar might agree "to blame equally a third man, who is so presumptuous as to censure both, if they should chance to hear of it." Buckingham probably is speaking of himself, but the caution concerns Pope as well (Corr. 1:485). I have further investigated the difficult disagreements between Madame Dacier and Pope in two sister-essays: "Alexander Pope and Madame Dacier's Homer:. Conjectures concerning Cardinal Dubois, Sir Luke Schaub, and Samuel Buckley," Huntington Library Quarterly 62 (1999): 1-33, and "'What Must the World Think of Me? Pope, Madame Dacier, and Homer: The Anatomy of a Quarrel," in Eighteenth, Century Contexts. Historical Inquiries in Honor of Phillip Harth, ed. Howard D. Weinbrot, Peter J. Schakel, and Stephen E. Karian (U. of Wisconsin Press, 2001), pp. 183-206.

Both Daciers were exceptionally learned. Most of the French Moderns, however, also were highly educated men, and women like Madame de Lambert, who for political and religious reasons sought to shift the praise of antiquity from Greece to Rome in order to magnify Catholic Louis XIV as heir of imperial grandeur. The Jesuit-educated Houdar, for example, was innocent of Greek but excellent in Latin and contemporary French letters. See Paul Dupont, Un Poete-philosophe au commencement du dix-huitieme siecle: Houdar de la Motte (1672-1731) (Paris, 1898), p. 1. Several of Madame Dacier's other antagonists were at least as learned as Houdar and, like le Pere Hardouin and the Abbe Terrason, were learned clerics. Of course many readers may have preferred Latin to Greek or modern literature to ancient literature purely as matter of pleasure, without benefit of a guiding ideology.

(7) See Houdar's "L'Iliade. Livre Onzieme in Oeuvres de monsieur Houdar de la Motte (Paris, 1754), 2:296: "Il fuit; ainsi le veut la fortune cruelle; / Mais il pretend qu'au Grec sa fuite soit mortelle; / D'une course prudente, il fuit sous les remparts, Pour exposer Achille a la grele des dards." The Journal literaire 4 (1714) :129-55 favorably reviews Houdar's discourse and version of Homer and praises its "correction" in the death of Hector: "La memoire de ces deux Heros est rehabilitee dans la traduction" (p. 148). All impartial men of good sense will find Houdar's translation "une grande justesse d'esprit, une hardiesse reglee, des pensees nobles, des tours heureux, un grand choix dans les expressions, & sur-tout beaucoup de clarte" (p. 149). Robert Heron far later observes that the French thought Homer infra dig for not supplying his heroes with valets, cooks, and the trappings "of a French prince making a campaign. La Motte dressed him up to their taste." See Heron, A New General History of Scotland (Perth, 1794), 1:197-98. For further discussion of Homer in France see Noemi Hepp, Bibliotheque Francaise et Romane.... Etudes Litteraires, vol. 18, Homere en France au XVIIe siecle (Paris: Librarie C. Klinksieck, 1968); Paul Mazon, Madame Dacier et les traductions d' Hombre en France (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936), and Howard D. Weinbrot, Britannia's Issue: The Rise of British Literature from Dryden to Ossian (Cambridge U. Press, 1993), pp. 193.219, 232-34. Students of Pope and of eighteenth-century Anglo-French relations remain indebted to Emile Audra s, Les Traductions Francaises de Pope (1717-1825): Etude de bibliographie (Paris: Librarie Ancienne Honore Champion), his Bibliotheque de Litterature Comparee, vol. 72, L'Influence Francaise dans l'oeuvre de Pope (Paris: Librarie Ancienne Honore Champion, 1931), and to Jacqueline de La Harpe, University of California Publications in Modern Philology, vol. 16.2, Le Journal des savants et la renommee de Pope en France au XVIIIe siecle (U. of California Press, 1933).

(8) Anne Le Fevre Dacier, Des Causes de la corruption du goust (Paris, 1714), p. 32.

(9) For aspects of these exchanges, see the pages cited in Britannia's Issue, n. 7 above. Houdar responded to Madame Dacier's Corruption in Reflexions sur la critique (1715). I quote from the 2nd, enlarged, edition of Paris 1716 and give references in the text. The argument between Madame Dacier and Houdar became the subject of popular song and comedy. See "Chanson sur madame Dacier et [mons.sup.r] de LaMothe, sur l'air du Pont-Neuf: Off, ecoutes, grands et petits ..." as listed in "Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque de Bordeaux," in Catalogue general des manuscrits des bibliotheques publiques de France. Departements-tome XXIII (Paris, 1894), p. 322. Note too Louis Fuzelier's one act play, Arlequin defenseur de'Homere (1715) as discussed in Henry Carrington Lancaster, Sunset:. A History of Parisian Drama in the Last Years of Louis XIV1701-1715 (The Johns Hopkins Press, 1945), pp. 330-31. See also le Pere Jean Hardouin, Apologie d' Hombre, ou l'on explique le veritable dessein de son Iliade, et sa theomythologie (Paris, 1716); Madame Dacier, Hombre defendu contre l'apologie du R. P. Hardouin. Ou suite des causes de la corruption du goust (Paris, 1716); [E. Fourmont] Examen pacifique de la querelle de Madame Dacier et de Monsieur de la Motte sur Hombre (Paris, 1716) ;Jean-Francois de Pons, Oeuvres [1738] suivies de lettre a Madame Dacier sur son livre des causes de la corruption du goust (Geneva: Slatkin Reprints, 1971), "Dissertation sur le pomme epique," pp. 95-145; "Lettre a Madame Dacier" (new pagination), pp. 1-48.

Several texts in this often unpleasant exchange were translated into English. See Houdar de la Motte, A Critical Discourse on Homer's Iliad, trans. Lewis Theobald (London, 1714); the Abbe Jean Terrasson, A Critical Dissertation upon Homer's Iliad, trans. Francis Brerewood (London, 1722); and Madame Dacier's Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Account of Homer, Prefixed to his Translation of the Iliad. Made English from the French By Mr. Parnell (London, 1724). "Parnell" is Curll's malicious ghostly fiction. This pamphlet was reprinted in H. Stanhope (William Bond), The Popiad (London, 1728), pp. 26-32, as "Madam DACIER's Reflections upon Mr. POPE's Account of HOMER, in his Preface to the Iliad," and in William Ayre (Edmund Curll?), Memoires of the Life and Writings of Alexander Pope, Esq; (London, 1745), 1:238-45. The Popiad's motto is "Dacier and Dennis in One Cause unite, / And prove that Pope can nor Translate, nor Write." Madame Dacier's final lines question Pope's loyalty to Homer and to his larger nation, especially as it appeared in its English translation: "A Man capable to correct HOMER, will be able to form the Manners of Men.... Of what infinite Consequence then, will Mr. POPE be to a State, since he can reform HOMER" (Curll's Dacier, pp. 17-18). For the full French text see L'Iliade de Hombre, traduite en Francois avec des remarques. Par Madame Dacier, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1719), 3: sigs * [[i.sup.r]-[viii.sup.v]], a new gathering at the end of the volume. The first volume's title page announced to Europe that this reviewed, corrected, and augmented edition came Avec Quelques reflexions sur la preface Angloise de M. Pope.

(10) Pope repeats this charge in his angry "Postscript to the Odyssey": Odyssey, TE 10:396. He also is far harsher on the Moderns in that "Postscript," perhaps to show Madame Dacier's supporters that he really is on their side.

(11) Journal literaire 8 (1716):40 in an enthusiastic review of the first volume of Pope's Iliad (1715);Journal des scavans 11 (1719):171, in a review of Perelle's Traduction ... de l'Homere Anglais de M. Pope. The reviewer also doubts whether Pope's pro-Modern views regarding Homer were fully congruent with Houdar's.

(12) "Portrait de M. de la Motte, Par feue Madame la Marquise de Lambert," in Oeuvres ... de la Motte (Paris, 1754), 1:v-vi and Nicolas-Charles-Joseph, Abbe Trublet, "Lettre a Madame T. D. L. F. sur Monsieur Houdar de la Motte," Oeuvres, 1:xxiij. Like Pope, Houdar praised potential or real adversaries when possible and desirable. See his "A Madame Dacier, Sur Son Anacreon. Ode 1," Oeuvres 1, part 2:195-96; "Ode Imitee d'Horace a Monsieur Dacier," Oeuvres 2:473-76; and the funeral poem for Madame Dacier, "Ode a la Louange de Madame Dacier, Prononcee al'Academie dans une Seance publique," 2:508-13. We there read that "Notre siecle le compte a sa gloire ... des Daciers" (2:509).

(13) For some further positive acknowledgments see Shankman, Iliad, pp. 62, 65, 112, 157, 162, 170, 193. In the "Postscript to the Odyssey" Pope makes plain the evolution of his thinking. Fie has moved from collegial Homer to a religious war in which his general accuses him of treason: "I have fought under Madam Dacier's banner, and have wag'd war in defence of the divine Homer against all the Hereticks of the Age. And yet it is Madame Dacier who accuses me, and who accuses me of nothing less than betraying our Common Cause" (Odyssey, TE 10:392).

(14) The Journal literaire shared some of these objections. See its review of her Odyssey, 10 (1718): 61-65. The reviewer also finds it "etonant, que Me. Dacier n'ait pas parle du Telemaque de Mr de Fenelon; nous ne saurions concevoir les raisons de ce silence" (p. 53).

(15) The Journal literaire rightly, observes that Pope's preface "sent plus l'Orateur & le Poete, que le Philosophe": 8 (1716): 3; see also 8:41 for the relationship between Pope's poetry and prose. The Journal des scavans is equally warm regarding Pope's prose which responds to his lively description of Homer's poetry: "il devient luimeme Poete dans sa prose": 11 (1719): 167, in the review of Perelle.

(16) Quotations are from the English translation, The Iliad of Homer, Translated from the Greek into Blank Verse, By Mr. Ozell, Mr. Broom, and Mr. Oldisworth to which are added a Preface, the Life of Homer, and Notes by Madame Dacier. The first volume of this set is from the second edition of 1714; the other volumes are from the first edition of 1712. This is from 1:xxxvii; subsequent citations are given in the text. The translators observe that Madame Dacier's Iliad version has "given to her Name a Lustre which is capable of no further Addition" (1:sig. [A3.sup.r]). Such praise did not dissuade them from denigrating the French language itself.

(17) Odyssey, TE 10:394. These two intelligent and learned critics inhabited not merely different countries, but different worlds: hers is of French neoclassic absolutes; his is of British empirical criticism.

(18) See The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, vol. 5, The Dunciad, ed. James Sutherland, 3rd ed. (Yale U. Press, 1963). Unfortunately, the Twickenham Edition's complexity needs transferring to scholarly citation. I quote the first three books from The Dunciad Variorum, or' Dunciad A" in TE 5, by Book and line number--here 1.250. I quote the fourth book from "Dunciad B" in that edition, but where there are substantial germane additions to notes in the 1729 Variorum I will quote from "Dunciad B" as well. In the two latter cases I cite such references as TE 5 followed by Book and line number. In each case subsequent citations will be given in the text.

(19) Using a 1743 quarto of The Dunciad in Four Books as common denominator text, the "Remarks" to specific lines vs. the "Imitations to specific lines, are: Book 1, 85-17, 5:1 in 330 lines; Book 2, 80-50, about 1.6:1 in 428 lines; Book 3, 69-36, about 1.9:1 in 340 lines; and Book 4, 172-9, almost 20:1 in 655 lines. The proportion in The New Dunciad (1742) is about 9-1, with 131 "Remarks" and eight imitations in 618 lines. Meticulous numerologists should be cautioned that these numbers change slightly after recounting as the eyes glaze over and the brain goes numb.

In the "Advertisement to the Reader" of The Dunciad in Four Books W. W. does not distinguish between his commentary on the Essay on Criticism, the Essay on Man, or Pope's own notes to The Dunciad and asks for "additions ... (of a more serious kind) (TE 5:251). The Advertisement actually is in Pope's hand, though I suspect that he tailored it to Warburton's increasingly influential desires. Miriam Lerenbaum discusses Warburton's role in the fourth book of the Dunciad in her Alexander Pope's `Opus Magnum' 1729-1744 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), pp. 140-50. See also Sutherland, TE 5:251 n.4. Warburton's extensive additions may reflect his sense of The Dunciad as independent poem and prose commentary rather than an interdependent whole. On 25 April 1753 he proposes to the printer John Knapton that the notes for a new edition be published at the end of each book in order to make the edition more elegant and attractive than the small notes whose format now "deforms & hurts the beauty of the Edn." See Oxford Bibliographical Society Publications New Series Vol. 23, Pope's Literary Legacy: The Book Trade Correspondence of William Warburton and John Knapton with other letters and documents 1744-1780, ed. Donald W. Nichol (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographic Society, 1992), p. 69. Warburton also had prepared new notes to Pope's Iliad translation: Warburton to [Henry Lintot?] 31 October 1753, p. 113. In trying to reorganize Pope's design for the Iliad he missed the point of The Dunciad as "mock book." For correctives, see William Kinsley, "The Dunciad as Mock-Book." Huntington Library Quarterly 35 (1971): 2947, and James McLaverty "The Mode of Existence of Literary Works of Art: The Case of the Dunciad Variorum," SB 37 (1984): 82-105.

(20) Corr. 3:57, 9 October 1729: "It was my principal aim in the entire work to perpetuate the friendship between us, and to shew that the friends or the enemies of one were the friends or enemies of the other." This friendship, however, should not hide the substantial differences between the two men. See Phillip Harth's "Friendship and Politics: Swift's Relations with Pope in the Early 1730's," Reading Swift: Papers from The Third Munster Symposium on Jonathan Swift, ed. Hermann Real and Helgard Stover-Leidig (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1998), pp. 23948. In 1743 Pope makes plainer still his Swiftian ancestry. The Dunciad Variorum begins with "The Dunciad. Book the First." The quarto Dunciad in Four Books begins with "The Dunciad: To Dr. Jonathan Swift. Book the First" [p. 39]. The TE copy text is "the final revision of the 1743 quarto" (TE 5:250) but reverts to "The Dunciad Book the First" and does not cite "To Dr. Jonathan Swift" as an alternative (TE 5:267). For the fuller bibliographic references, see University of Texas Studies in English, Reginald Harvey Griffith, Alexander Pope: A Bibliography (U. of Texas Press, 1927) 2:461-63.

(21) Colley Cibber, Another Occasional Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope. Wherein The New Hero's Preferment to his Throne, in the Dunciad, seems not to be Accepted. And the Author of that Poem His more rightful Claim to it, is Asserted (London, 1744), p. 11. The full quotation makes plain that Cibber, among others, attended to the notes as well as to the text: "when we take the Achievement in all its Lights, when we observe with what pompous Ceremony your doughty Dunciad sets forward; with what a reverend critical champion, prancing, upon a neighing Preface before it! Such a Train too of Prolegomena, Notes Variorum, Proclamations, Remarks, Imitations, Hypercritics, Testimonium, Encomiums, and at the Heels of your Car, such numerous captive Offenders dragging after it, their audacious Comparisons of Dryden to Pope, and of Pope to Dryden! then might one think the whole Empire of Parnassus were in Arms to make you King of it! Then, I say, must the learned World confess, this voluminous Labour is a most compleat and magnificent Picture of the militant Church, and Pope triumphant" (p. 11).

Cibber makes a comparable complaint in his earlier A Letter From Mr. Cibber, to Mr. Pope, Inquiring into the Motives that might induce him in his Satyrical Works, to be so frequently fond of Mr. Cibber's Name (London, 1742), pp. 9, 14. See also Lewis Theobald's complaint as recorded in [Matthew Concanen, ed.] A Miscellany on Taste.... III. Of Mr. Pope's Taste of Shakespeare (London, 1732 for the compilation; 1729 for Theobald's remarks), pp. 39-41; [James Moore Smythe], One Epistle to Mr. A. Pope, Occasion'd By two Epistles Lately Published (London, [1730]), p.viii; and [William Dodd] A New Book of the Dunciad: Occasion'd By Mr. Warburton's New Edition of the Dunciad Complete. By a Gentleman of one of the Inns of Court (London 1750), sig. [A3.sup.r].

(22) Milton's Paradise Lost. A New Edition, By Richard Bentley, D. D. (London, 1732), pp. 5 (measure), 6 (dry, glory, better), 7 (not believe), 9 (few passages). In the Preface Bentley claims that he will retrieve "the Poet's own Words, not from a Manuscript, (for none exists) but by Sagacity, and happy Conjecture" (sig. [a2.sup.v]). Bentley's voice is very like his brother-annotator Theobald in Shakespeare Restored: Or, A Specimen of the Many Errors ... by Mr. Pope (London, 1726). Many commentators agreed with the Scriblerian aversion to Bentley's editorial method, but of course many did not. For competing versions of this reality, see William Broome Poems on Several Occasions (1727), 2nd ed. (London, 1739),pp. xiii-xvi, and Joseph Warton, The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq. (London, 1797), 4:23. Others would split the difference and agree with each side, as did the author of The Poet finished in Prose. Being A Dialogue concerning Mr. Pope And His Writings (London, 1735): "Pope calls Theobald a Dunce; Theobald calls Pope a Rascal. For ought I know they may be both in the right" (pp. 28-29). For fuller discussion, see Marcus Walsh, Shakespeare, Milton, and Eighteenth-century Literary Editing: The Beginnings of Interpretive Scholarship (Cambridge U. Press, 1997). However unfortunate the Milton edition, Bentley's preeminence as a classical scholar remains uncorrupted by droppings from the pens of the Christ Church wits, as well as Swift, Temple, and Pope.

(23) A Tale of A Tub to which is added the Battle of the Books and the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit By Jonathan Swift, ed. A. C. Guthkelch and D. Nichol Smith, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 32 (where they are), 34-35 (escape, memorial), 205 (memory).

(24) The Jacobite Squire Western twice denigrates "Hannover Rats" as had Fielding himself in 1744. See Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (1749), ed. Martin C. Battestin (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), pp. 321, 321n, book 6 chapter 14.

(25) Like Swift again, he also turns an opponent to his own advantage. He quotes Oldmixon lamenting that high-level malfeasance has made the incompetent Eusden Poet Laureate: "the putting the Laurel on the head of one who writ such verses, will give futurity a very lively idea of the Judgment and Justice of those who bestow'd it (3.319n).

(26) It seems reasonable to hypothesize that such destructive monarchs are surrogates for William of Orange and George II each of whom, for Pope, weakened the state.

(27) Brosette's commentary is in Oeuvres de Nicolas Boileau Despreaux. Avec des eclaircissemens historiques, donnez par lui-meme (The Hague, 1722), 2:20n-21n. 131, a paraphrase from the concurring Balzac. Quotations from the Art poetique are from this edition as well: the terms of disapprobation are from canto 1:113-29; Malherbe, 1:131-32.

(28) Marc Fumaroli, "La Coupole," in Les Lieux de memoire, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), 2:351, see also p. 345. The entire essay, pp. 321-88, well reviews changes in the Academie's intellectual function in the state and the role of the querelle between the Ancient and the Moderns in furthering such change. For example, the Academie as the home of the Moderns spread the Modern faith: "La victoire des Modernes cree les conditions d'une reception aisle pour la philosophie des Lumieres: celle-ci suppose en effet que tout a commence non dans l'Antiquite, ni a Renaissance, mais au siecle de Louis le Grand" (p. 353). This was an excruciating paradox for Anne and Andre Dacier, for whom the Academie should have been hostile to such Modern values while still praising its peerless monarch.

(29) Memoires de Trevoux, published officially as Memoires pour l'histoire des sciences & des beaux arts, recueillis par l'order de Son Altesse Serenissime Monseigneur Prince Souverain de Dombes, May, 1715, pp. 784-85. This is "Article LXX," a review of her Des Causes de la corruption. The review, however, makes plain that Madame Dacier is excessive in her "critique impitoyable" (p. 789) of Houdar, and that like other blind adorers of Homer she refuses to see "les erreurs les plus grossieres ... dans leur divin Poete" (p. 803).

(30) I here offer a partial corrective to the conventional view that Pope is complicit with the Dunces he opposes. This now reigning orthodoxy begins with two essays of the sixties: Howard Erskine-Hill, "The `New World' of Pope's Dunciad," Renaissance and Modern Studies 6 (1962): 47-67, reprinted in Maynard Mack, ed. Essential Articles for the Study of Alexander Pope (Hamden, Ct.: Archon Press, 1968), pp. 80324; and Emrys Jones, The Chatterton Lecture on An English Poet, "Pope and Dulness," Proceedings of the British Academy 54 (1968): 231-63. Erskine-Hill repeats his views in Pope: The Dunciad (London: Edward Arnold, 1972), as for example, on pp. 32, 46, 70. We hear that "future criticism must surely acknowledge Pope's sense of human involvement with his dunces" (p. 70). For more recent adaptations of this caution, see David Fairer, Pope's Imagination (Manchester University Press, 1984), p. 137, with a healthy caveat. More recently, Brean Hammond tries to show some of the ways in which Pope and the Scriblerians sought to destroy the "professional writing" they found offensive while also sharing in their enemies' values. For example, Pope, Gay, Fielding, and Swift were "`infected' by pronounced elements" of the democratized culture they opposed. See Hammond, Professional Imaginative Writing in England, 1670-1740. `Hackney for Bread' (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), p. 11. See also Blakey Vermeule, "Abstraction, Reference, and the Dualism of Pope's Dunciad," MP 96 (1998): 23: Pope "paradoxically embraced his enemy." Vermeule also argues that the poem is essentially incoherent (p. 18).

(31) Pope contrasts Gay's effectual satire in The Beggar's Opera with Dennis's ineffectual overheated blasts: "it drove out of England the Italian Opera, which had carry'd all before it for ten years: That Idol of the Nobility and the people, which the great Critick Mr. Dennis by the labours and outcries of a whole life could not overthrow, was demolish'd in one winter by a single stroke of this gentleman's pen" (3:326n). Pope's remark again suggests his need to provide lingering, effectual, norms however temporary they may be.
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Author:Weinbrot, Howard D.
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Article Type:Critical Essay
Date:Sep 22, 2000
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