‘The Peculiar Province’: Theories of Humour

  • Mark Storey


An obituary writer in 1819 commemorated one of England’s poets with this anecdote:

When the Duke of Kent was last in America, he took a stroll into the country, and entering a neat little cottage, saw a pretty girl with a book in her hand; ‘What books do you read, my dear?’ said his Royal Highness. The girl with the most artless innocence replied, ‘Sir, the Bible and Peter Pindar!’ 1


Eighteenth Century Paradise Lost Good Humour Pretty Girl Epic Poet 
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  1. 1.
    Quoted in Kenneth Hopkins, Portraits in Satire (1958), p. 239.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John E. Jordan, Why the Lyrical Ballads? ( Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1976 ), p. 129.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    trans. T. S. Dorsch, in Classical Literary Criticism (Harmondsworth, 1965 ), pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Isaac Barrow, Against Foolish Talking and Jesting (1678); Addison, especially Spectator No. 381.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Laurence Sterne, Letters, ed. Lewis P. Curtis (Oxford, 1935) p. 163; William Cowper, Correspondence, ed. Thomas Wright, II (1904), pp. 26–7.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Henry Mackenzie, Mirror, No. l00 (1780).Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    See especially Upali Amarasinghe, Dryden and Pope in the early nineteenth century (Cambridge, 1962).Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    Hazlitt, Complete Works, ed. P. P. Howe, V (London and Toronto, 1930 ), p. 68.Google Scholar
  9. 27.
    Hazlitt, Complete Works, XX (1934), p. 363.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mark Storey 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Storey
    • 1
  1. 1.BirminghamUK

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