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Aaron HillThe Muses' Projector, 1685-1750$
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Christine Gerrard

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183884

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183884.001.0001

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‘Dipt in the Dirt’: Pope, Cultural Politics, and Grub Street, 1728–1733

‘Dipt in the Dirt’: Pope, Cultural Politics, and Grub Street, 1728–1733

(p.122) 6 ‘Dipt in the Dirt’: Pope, Cultural Politics, and Grub Street, 1728–1733
Aaron Hill


Oxford University Press

One side of Aaron Hill's character — the entrepreneur, man of action, and practical improver — was left unsatisfied by the cloying intensity of the Hillarian Circle with its hidden intimacies and literary rivalries. Hill's financial fortunes became bound up with the Yorks Building Company, which was originally founded as a waterworks in 1675 on the London site now occupied by Charing Cross Station. Hill's Scottish activities in 1727-1728 absented him from London literary life at the very point that Pope chose to immortalise him as a Dunce. Though critical of the poem's ‘lowness,’ Hill shared The Dunciad's underlying vision of a nation in cultural decline. Like Pope, he too came to identify the Walpole oligarchy with the forces of dullness. Hill's intensely personal castigation of Pope's moral failings throws into focus the almost sado-masochistic nature of the relationship between the two writers.

Keywords:   Aaron Hill, Hillarian Circle, Yorks Building Company, Charing Cross Station, Pope, The Dunciad, Walpole oligarchy

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