Pope, Print, and Meaning

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Throughout his life, Pope was fascinated by print. He loved its elements: dropped heads, italics, small capitals; fine paper and good ink; headpieces, tailpieces, initials, and plates. And he loved playing games with publication: anonymity, pseudonymity, false imprints, fake title-pages, advertisements, special editions, and variant texts.

This is the first study to take Pope's experiments in print as a guide to interpretation. Each chapter is devoted to a particular book or text and focuses on how Pope expresses meaning through print. The Rape of the Lock, Dunciad Variorum, Essay on Man, early imitations of Horace, and Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot are read through their illustrations, annotations, parallel texts, title-pages, and revisions. Independent chapters are devoted to Pope's Works of 1717 and 1735-6, discussing his self-presentation and his relation to his readers. He emerges from the study as a figure marginalized socially, politically, and sexually, an author who gambles with his private life in confronting his opponents.

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Oxford University Press
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