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The most important English poet of the 18th century :

The most important English poet of the 18th century Master of formal perfection and social satire He wrote mock-heroic poems to criticise social conventions and the vanities of aristocracy Mock-heroic style: parody of epic poetry , where common or trivial subjects are described with highly refined language ( epic similes , metaphors , personifications , hyperboles ) Alexander Pope


ALEXANDER POPE 1688-1744 Born in London Catholic and bad health-> excluded from public life, he devoted to writing He became famous in 1712 with The Rape of the Lock when he was 23 He became the leading poet of his age He translated the Iliad and Odyssey

Pope and Parini:

Similarities Differences In Italy, mock-heroic poetry is best illustrated by the poems of Giuseppe Parini (1729-99) in the second half of the 18° century . His masterpiece in this genre is “ Il Giorno ”(1763-65), a poem in 4 parts which describes a typical day in the life of a young Milanese aristocrat . Not only are the events of the day futile and the life described shallow and stupid , but Parini also describes all this in the exalted tone and elevated language of epic poetry : the contrast is clearly ironic , and is meant by Parini as strong criticism of the aristocracy . Pope’s Rape of the Lock was well known to Parini, who admired teh English poet . Already in the 18° century , in fact , he was often compared to him and sometimes called “il Pope italiano”. Their two masterpieces in mock-heroic form have many similar points , in fact , since both are centred on the lazy life and spoiled habits of a young noble person of the time . Pope’s description of Belinda ’s toilet is echoed in Parini’s Il Giorno , in the famous passage that describes the young aristocrat ’s rising from bed and his elaborate toilet . Despite obvious similarities , however , Pope and Parini also show different ways of handling social satire. Pope’s irony is less sharp than Parini’s . Though the English poet is critical of the society and life-style he presents in the Rape of the Lock , yet his criticism seems more directed at faulty individuals than a specific class system. His mock-heroic poem is both a satire and a celebration of the refined Augustan society to which he also belonged . Parini’s irony in Il Giorno , on the other hand , is often corrosive and sometimes questions the political and economical system on which the life of the upper classes is based . Pope’s mock-heroic poetry is also less radical than the satire of his contemporary Augustan fellow writer , Jonathan Swift . Pope and Parini

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