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Alexander Pope and Eighteenth-Century Italian Poetry


Deirdre O'Grady

The purpose of this work is to demonstrate the popularity and influence of Alexander Pope in eighteenth-century Italy, by means of close examination of the translations of his works and the literary genres with which he is associated. The Rape of the Lock, An Essay on Man and Eloisa to Abelard are afforded special consideration, since they proved of partiticular interest to the «letterati» of the time. Hampton Court and the world of The Rape of the Lock is identified with the miniature society of the «bel mondo». The author traces the evolution of the Italian poetry of the lock and the adventures of Belinda in the guise of Silvia, Lisetta, Lucinda and Aurilla. The translations and imitations of An Essay on Man are analysed and assessed. Pope's Eloisa, as projected by Antonio Conti is seen as an exponent of pre-Romantic ardour, isolated from the gothic world of the English poem. The study thus provides an appreciation and interpretation of the English poet, as seen through the eyes of eighteenth-century translators, critics and poets.
Contents: Eighteenth-century translations of Pope - The poetry of the lock and the mock-heroic satires of Angelo Talassi and Lorenzo Pignotti - The philosophical poem - Antonio Conti and the poetic world of the cloister.