This edition reprints the text of Pope's classic poem — both the five-canto 1714 version and the facsimilie of the original 1712 version — together with a broad selection of documents. Including correspondence, poems, broadsides, reviews, and parodies, the documents focus special attention on Pope's life and career as well as on eighteenth-century poetic traditions and innovations, social habits and assumptions, historical events, and political implications. A general introduction providing historical and cultural background, a chronology of Pope's life and times, an introduction to each thematic group of documents, headnotes, extensive annotations, a selected bibliography, and a generous collection of maps, portraits, and illustrations make this volume a unique scholarly edition of this classic work of eighteenth-century literature.
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Only rarely in publishing history has the ideal edition of a literary work been created, where text, typography, and illustrations complement one another perfectly. Among the few examples are the Kelmscott Chaucer, Baskerville's Milton, and Beardsley's Salome. Another such book is the 1896 edition of Pope's The Rape of the Lock, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.
Beardsley's elaborate drawings for The Rape of the Lock were created during the last phase of his brief career. This nearly Romantic period, characterized by rich, brilliantly imagined decoration and ornamentation and by high textual contrasts, was perfectly suited to the blend of mock-heroic, satire, and delicate fancy of Pope's poems. As Beardsley's biographer R. A. Walker wrote, "These drawings show a verve, a wit and appreciation of the poem than can scarcely be matched in English literature." Using his unique line and "black blot" technique, Beardsley created a masterpiece of design and mood.
This Dover edition reproduces the first edition: the complete text of the five-canto poem, notes, seven full-page drawings, two half-page drawings, and the original cover design by Beardsley.
Alexander Pope (1688–1744) is widely regarded as the greatest English poet of the early 18th century, best known for his satirical verse. His other works include The Dunciad (1728) and An Essay on Man (1734). Aubrey Beardsley is a noted illustrator. Sophie Gee is the author of The Scandal of the Season.
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