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Literary authority : an eighteenth-century genealogy  Cover Image Book Book

Literary authority : an eighteenth-century genealogy

Willan, Claude (author.).

Summary: "This book is the cultural history of an idea which now seems so self-evident as barely to be worth stating: through writing imaginative literature, an author can accrue significant and lasting economic and cultural power. We take for granted, now, that authority dwells in literature and in being its author. This state of affairs was not naturally occurring, but deliberately invented. This book tells the story of that invention. The story's central figures are Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson. But its narrative begins in the 1680s, with the last gasp of the bond linking literary to political authority. While Jacobite poets celebrated (and mourned) the Stuart dynasty, Whig writers traced the philosophical and aesthetic consequences of the accession of William of Orange. Both groups left behind sets of literary devices ready-made to confer and validate authority. Claude Willan challenges the continued reign of the "Scriblerian" model of the period and shows how that reign was engineered. In so doing he historicizes the relationship between "good" and "bad" writing, and suggests how we might think about literature and beauty had Pope and Johnson not taken literary authority for themselves. What might literature have looked like, and what could we use it for, he provocatively asks"--

Record details

  • OCLC: on1336701876
  • ISBN: 9781503635272
  • ISBN: 1503630862
  • ISBN: 9781503630864
  • Physical Description: ix, 316 pages ; 24 cm
  • Published: Stanford, California :Stanford University Press,2023.
  • Publisher: Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, 2023.

Content descriptions

Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents: Introduction -- Whig prose cultures -- "I love with all my heart:" Jacobite poetry in manuscript -- Dipt in ink : Pope without "Pope" in his early career -- Pope's moderate ascendancy -- Johnson's struggle with Pope -- Coda.
Subject: Pope, Alexander -- 1688-1744 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
Johnson, Samuel -- 1709-1784 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
Politics and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century
English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism
Johnson, Samuel -- 1709-1784
Pope, Alexander -- 1688-1744
English literature
Politics and literature
Great Britain
Genre: History.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at ASLAN - Network. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Asbury University.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Kinlaw Library 820.9 W55l 2023 1150919597 STACKS-AU Available -

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