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|Title:||"Am'rous Causes": A Study of the Love-Melancholy Tradition and its Role in the Early Works (1700-1714) of Alexander Pope|
|Authors:||Boire, Gary A.|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>A study in the history of one idea, this thesis traces the development of the medical and literary concept of love-melancholy and its role in the early works of Alexander Pope. Although my ultimate purpose is to shed new light on The Rape of the Lock, a direct application of the idea of love-melancholy to a reading of the poem cannot be attempted before determining the historical milieu of the malady itself. This background must be defined in order to place in their proper context Restoration and early Augustan treatments of the disease. By so doing the necessary critical perspective will have been established. It is within this perspective that the significance of Pope's achievement may be more fully understood.</p> <p>The study begins with an extended introduction dealing with the historical concept of love-melancholy. Attention is given to Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, and early Restoration treatments. Although I focus primarily on the medical writers (Galen, Avicenna, Bernardus, Burton, and Harvey ), I develop my argument through allusions to contemporary literary adaptions (Ovid, de Lorris, Chaucer, and Donne). As this chapter makes clear, melancholic love is not to be confused with the sweet sadness brought on by unrequited love; it was regarded, rather, as a real and dangerous disease affecting the victim's body, mind, and soul. The concept was easily adapted by artists for purposes of satiric characterization and soon became a familiar tradition complete with an elaborate system of causes, symptoms, prognoses, and cures.</p> <p>By the early eighteenth century love-melancholy had been long regarded as an emblem of human frailty, folly, and delusion. Its sexual basis, moreover, lent itself to satirical and scatological treatments. Chapter II argues that while many of the more graphic pieces of the period may appear the product of the vulgar imagination, such works reflect a calculated and deliberate working within the love-melancholy tradition. Emphasis is placed on selected numbers of the Tatler and Spectator, poems by Gay and Swift, and certain episodes from the Memoirs...of Martinus Scriblerus.</p> <p>Chapter III is an analysis of Pope's knowledge, understanding, and use of this tradition in the early imitations, juvenalia, and translations. I then turn to the Pastorals themselves, Pope's first "independent" adaptation of the love-melancholy concept. In Chapter IV I deal exclusively with The Rape of the Lock. Aspects of the disorder are here shown to form an integral aspect of Pope's overall satiric design.</p> <p>Although the love-melancholy tradition varies drastically at points (compare, for example, Swift's "Strephon and Chloe" with Gay's The Fan), in each case it provides a storehouse of images, paradigms, metaphors, even plots, all perfectly adaptable to the purposes of Augustan moral satire. By re-viewing certain eighteenth century works in light of traditional writings on this disease I believe we may better understand some of the techniques and meanings that have hitherto been misconstrued. And by so doing, we may better note the inner workings of a vital and fascinating tradition.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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