The chapter discusses the author's interest on Aaron Hill, which began when he was a graduate student in mid-1980s, working on the relationship between patriotism and poetry in the Walpole era. Hill seemed to be an ambivalent figure, linked to Pope in his prognostications of cultural doom and national decline, yet wedded to an entirely different poetic derived from a critically marginalized tradition of enthusiasm and sublimity: a poetic associated before the middle of the 18th century with writers such as John Dennis, Isaac Watts, and James Thomson. Critical scholarship of the 1980s and beyond has challenged and reconfigured the so-called ‘Augustan’ literary canon, shedding light on neglected authors and scrutinising the processes of canon-formation which shape our perception of 18th-century writing. Brean Hammond's Professional Imaginative Writing questioned Pope's own adjudication of literary values, particularly his suspicious dismissal of professional writers such as Colley Cibber, Eliza Haywood, and Aaron Hill.
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