English Clandestine Satire, 1660-1702

Hardcover | October 15, 2004

byHarold Love

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In early modern Britain, the primary medium of free comment was the clandestine satire, circulated either orally or in manuscript. Part of the national political culture from Jacobean times, satire reached its greatest influence following the Restoration of Charles II, when a new 'easy' style,combining courtly polish with demotic frankness and flagrant indecency, led to the composition of thousands of such poems. Most of the poets of the time, including such major talents as Marvell and Rochester, wrote in the genre, though nearly always anonymously. While its chief targets werepolitical, much Restoration satire concerned itself with the emerging demography of 'Town' and its uncertain experimentation with new kinds of social freedom. Attacks on the sexual misbehaviour (real or imagined) of aristocratic women hover, equally uncertainly, between moral condemnation andill-disguised envy, while also conferring an inverse celebrity status on their victims. In this paradoxical social world, not to be lampooned could mean that one was no longer a person of importance. In the first comprehensive survey of this vast field, Harold Love considers the relationship of the lampoon to gossip, how one might construct a poetics of the genre, and how clandestine satire reached and was received by its readers. Constructing three primary categories of 'court', 'Town' and'state' lampooning, Love argues that far from being the product of isolated disaffection, most satire was the work of a circle of recognized poets, frequently operating in collaboration. An extensive first-line index to the principal manuscript sources for clandestine satire makes this book an opensesame to further exploration of its fascinating field.

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In early modern Britain, the primary medium of free comment was the clandestine satire, circulated either orally or in manuscript. Part of the national political culture from Jacobean times, satire reached its greatest influence following the Restoration of Charles II, when a new 'easy' style,combining courtly polish with demotic frank...

Harold Love is Emeritus Professor, School of Literary, Visual Arts, and Performance Studies, Monash University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:350 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.14 inPublished:October 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019925561X

ISBN - 13:9780199255610

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. The Court Lampoon3. The Town Lampoon4. State Satire5. Authorship6. Lampoons and the Culture of Gossip7. A Poetics of the Lampoon8. Distribution and ReadershipBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Love's winning combination of imaginative critical synthesis and scholarly exactitude makes English Clandestine Satire a likely incitement to important new work for years to come."--Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
"Love offers an illuminating study of 17th-century English lampoon."--Choice