Abigail Williams

In an age before the daily newspaper, the broadcast, or the documentary, verse was commonly the vehicle for political comment and argument. Whether we turn to satires lamenting the corruption of the Walpole regime, or panegyric praising the Restoration of Charles II or the victories of the War of the Spanish Succession, we do not have to dig very deep to find an explicit political agenda in much of the verse of the early and mid-eighteenth century. As chapter 1 has shown, the decades between the return of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 and the fall of Robert Walpole in 1742 saw the rise of the first party political literature, and the great era of political verse. This essay will examine the poetry and literary criticism produced during this first age of party in order to consider how far the factionalism of party political debate inflected the form as well as the content of eighteenth-century poetry. Can we identify party political aesthetics in this period? How far did political affiliation determine critical evaluations of poetry and literary history in this period? Do Tory poets write different kinds of poetry from their Whig contemporaries?

0 0

Post a comment