Reconstructing the Classical Model: Pope’s Homer and Its Influence

  • Allan Ingram
  • Michelle Faubert

Abstract

Pope’s Homer, and especially his Iliad, was the foundation stone of his poetic reputation and, as is well known, of both his personal financial security and of the degree of independence he was thereafter able to assert in his dealings with the publishing trade over the terms and even of the textual appearance of future publications. It marked a turning-point, in fact, in relations between writers and their society’s custom¬ary agents of transmission. Equally, as the complete, authoritative and above all English translation of the father of all poetry, it was almost at once a cultural platform, second only to Shakespeare, for the Augustan age and for the foreseeable future. Pope’s towering achievement set an unchallengeable standard: it was the classical world made safe for England. Just how safe, and at what cost, and with what contortions, are of course questions resisted by the confidence enshrined in Pope’s text. Nevertheless, as writers such as Maynard Mack and Claude Rawson have begun to ask, just what are the implications of those fea¬tures of his original that Pope chooses to suppress, and how does that suppression take place? In this chapter, the focus will be on Achilles, most heroic of the heroes, central to the Homeric enterprise, and acutely problematic to a translator for another age and time. In under¬standing Pope’s solutions, we are not only brought face to face with a significant perspective on the representation of insanity, but, per¬versely, with a sense of how far high neo-classical culture was obliged to found itself on the misrepresentation of a past civilization.

Keywords

Burning Clay Dust Foam Amid 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 5.
    Frank Stack, Pope and Horace: Studies in Imitation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, p.xiv.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 7.
    Cited in George Chapman, The Iliads of Homer, ed. Richard Hooper, London: John Russell Smith, 1888, I, 19, n.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    John Dryden, Fables Ancient and Modern, 1700,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ed. James Kinsley, The Poems and Fables of John Dryden, London: Oxford University Press, 1962, p. 676.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    John Haslam, Medical Jurisprudence, London: C. Hunter, 1817, pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Claude Rawson, ‘Heroic Notes: Epic Idiom, Revision and the Mock-Footnote from the Rape of the Lock to the Dunciad’, in Alexander Pope: World and Word, ed. Howard Erskine-Hill, Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1998, p. 88.Google Scholar
  7. cited in Steven Shankman, Pope’s Tliad’: Homer in the Age of Passion, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983, p. 56.Google Scholar
  8. 40.
    Carolyn D. Williams, Pope, Homer, and Manliness: Some Aspects of Eighteenth- Century Classical Learning, London: Routledge, 1993, p. 104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Allan Ingram 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan Ingram
  • Michelle Faubert

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations