University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Queens' Arts Seminar > How To Do Things With Tunes: Alexander Pope and the prosodic intelligence

How To Do Things With Tunes: Alexander Pope and the prosodic intelligence

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Johanna Hanink.

All are welcome to join us for a paper, wine, and discussion at our third meeting of the term!

Abstract: This talk investigates the paradox that the single obvious feature conferring superiority upon Pope over all his contemporary rivals was his matchless excellence in versification; yet that such excellence was often declared to be among the poet’s less important accomplishments. It will argue that it is a mistake to take such declarations at face value, and suggest both that a powerful disavowal of the supposedly merely ‘mechanical’ parts of poetry-making was at work in early eighteenth-century critical talk, and that such disavowals have survived into our understanding of Pope’s verse today. Instead this paper will start from the principle that technique is how art thinks. It will attempt to develop an account of Pope’s ‘prosodic intelligence’ as a mode of (pleasurable) thinking in its own right.

This talk is part of the Queens' Arts Seminar series.

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