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English Clandestine Satire, 1660-1702$
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Harold Love

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199255610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199255610.001.0001

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A Poetics of the Lampoon

A Poetics of the Lampoon

(p.218) 7 A Poetics of the Lampoon
English Clandestine Satire, 1660-1702


Oxford University Press

This chapter considers whether state, court, and Town lampoons are to be treated merely as documents illustrative of mentalities, or whether they qualify as a branch of literature to be interpreted and evaluated as well as contextualized and explicated. Marvell’s and Rochester’s contributions to the tradition clearly do; but they were two outstanding poets who happened to write clandestine satire. Once lampoons written by incompetent amateurs and those (often highly competent) whose allegiance is to an older tradition of folk balladry are excluded, how far might examples of the metropolitan genre, as it was practised by educated but not outstandingly gifted writers, reward critical scrutiny? By classifying a bad lampoon as bad literature rather than not literature at all, we might have a better chance of discovering what makes a good lampoon good.

Keywords:   clandestine satire, good lampoon, bad lampoon

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