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Literary RelationsKinship and the Canon 1660-1830$
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Jane Spencer

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262960.001.0001

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Fathers and Mentors

Fathers and Mentors

(p.18) 1 Fathers and Mentors
Literary Relations

Jane Spencer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how ideas of literary patrilineage were affected by the hierarchized and gendered divide between spirit and matter: with spirit associated with masculinity and paternity and matter with femininity and maternity. Through a case study of Dryden and his relation to three filial figures: his son John; his chosen poetic heir, William Congreve; and his later literary son, Alexander Pope, it demonstrates the importance of a disembodied and metaphorical father-son relationship to the creation of poetic lineage, and indicates the problematic nature of the relationship between paternal mentoring and literary inheritance. The chapter further argues that the exclusivity of the father-son relationship as a model for literary inheritance was challenged by the advent of women writers claiming metaphorical daughterhood to literary fathers. This phenomenon is examined through a case study of Samuel Johnson's mentoring of Frances Burney and the father-daughter relationship established between them.

Keywords:   spirit, matter, paternity, mentoring, father-son, father-daughter, Dryden, William Congreve, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson

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