“Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture” Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 11 June 2016

“Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture”

In this early epistle, first published in 1712 as “To a Young Lady, with the Works of Voiture,” Pope addresses his friend Teresa Blount through the work and name of the early seventeenth century French poet and letter-writer Vincent de Voiture. In this indirect address of a female friend facing an uncertain marriage market, Pope resurrects a writer renowned for his raillery and charm in order to demonstrate the capacity of language to supersede its historical and social context. As a female member of a once powerful Catholic family, Teresa Blount’s only career choice was to marry within an aristocratic Catholic community in decline. Through the mediating space of Voiture’s work, Pope invites Teresa, as well as the reading public, to engage in a literary practice that hastens the arrival of a political community within the confining space of the private sphere. Since Pope re-published this epistle in 1735 as an address to Teresa’s younger sister Patty, it seems clear that he always had a broader public in mind when he made his call for the perversion of the private sphere through language.

In the course of this epistle’s double address, Pope evacuates himself as the author by joining the Blount sisters and a larger community of readers. While every letter may imply a wider audience in addition to an individual addressee, Pope’s epistle takes the unification of these two audiences as its subject. In the process, Pope uncovers the potential for an epistolary community to persist beyond the boundaries of the present. From the perspective of this epistle, the subordination of women represents a literary problem whose solution lies in the opening this exclusion provides into an epistolary community that exists only at the margins of early eighteenth century English life.

Although it is not clear whether Pope ever sent this epistle to Teresa Blount, its epistolary form demands that one read it as a part of an important female practice in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century England. While men of this era “lived gregariously, in the company of their fellows in the coffee houses and inns of the city,” women, particularly unmarried ones, were confined largely to the private or domestic sphere.[1] In coffee houses, inns, and workplaces, men of equal or at least friendly classes had the ability to freely socialize with one another. As objects on the marriage market, it was not considered respectable or pragmatic for women to participate in these “centers of social exchange” (Perry 69). According to the diary of an early eighteenth century man, whom Ruth Perry quotes in her study of epistolary fiction, women who appear in public loose value on the marriage market since men inevitably “grow tired and weary” of their “beauty or other less qualifications” (Perry 69).

Without access to the social sphere of life, women turned to writing letters “which were at once a way of being involved with the world while keeping it at a respectable arm’s length” (Perry 69). In addition to providing a way to privately manage courtship, letters allowed women to constitute a community of acquaintances and friends. With the establishment of the national Post Office in 1660 and the improvement of its service in the latter half of the century, letters became a reliable means for women to overcome the physical absence of friends imposed upon them by custom. The epistolary form of Pope’s poem situates it within a practice that was not only acceptable but encouraged among women of the period. When Pope composed his “Epistle to a Young Lady, with the work of Voiture” in 1710, he wrote from the perspective of a man feminized by disease and emasculated by anti-Catholic laws.

Although the epistle was considered more publicly oriented than a letter in prose and was practiced frequently by writers of both genders, Pope’s marginal status as a physically disabled Catholic suggests the relevance of the female tradition of letter writing to his published epistles. Despite his sometimes virulent attacks on women, most notably in the later epistle “Of the Character of Women,” Pope’s Catholicism and chronic ill health “combined to bar [him] from the full enjoyment of the privileges reserved for men in his society.”[2] The exclusion of Catholics from owning property, attending university, or holding public office limited Pope’s access to the public sphere. Unlike other English Catholics, Pope could not escape this “internal exile” through retiring to rural family life (Rumbold 4). Pope suffered from Pott’s disease, a tubercular infection of the bone that rendered him, at least in his own mind, physically unfit for marriage. “Less than five feet tall and deformed by a curvature of the spine, he [Pope] was acutely conscious of being ‘that little Alexander the women laugh at’” and refused offers of marriage on more than one occasion (Rumbold 4).

In a letter to the Blount sisters in 1717, Pope reports that his friend Lord Harcourt proposed that he marry a relative of his in financial need. Pope declined the offer since he “did not care to force so fine a woman to give the finishing stroke to all my deformities, by the last mark of a beast, horns.”[3] Pope’s sense of his monstrous appearance highlights the importance of his epistles and letters to women since they represented a form of friendship freed from the immediate concerns of the body. In these written addresses to women, Pope develops a literary practice that exploits the poetic possibilities in his limited position within both the public and domestic spheres of English society. His epistle to Teresa Blount is an attempt to exemplify the strategy that he proposes in heroic couplets to negotiate a subordinate social position through language. After discussing the work and life of Voiture in the first stanza, Pope transitions into a discussion of literary genres as distinct styles of being.

In the only rhyme break of the poem, Pope speaks of his life: “Let mine, an innocent gay farce appear, / And more diverting still than regular” (lines 25-26).[4] The break in rhyme between “appear” and “regular” playfully marks a departure from the metric structure of the poem in order to reinforce the narrator’s hope that his life appear “more diverting than regular.” Through hoping that his life “appear” as “an innocent gay farce,” Pope introduces a conception of life as a construction that one always performs before a public. Rather than being inherently “an innocent gay farce,” Pope’s narrator seeks to fabricate this appearance for an audience that will presumably be entertained. As a dramatic form whose “sole object is to excite laughter,” the narrator’s desire to style himself as an “innocent gay farce” manifests Pope’s need to control the laughter that his body elicits.[5] Pope’s conception of life as a poetic object in the second stanza of his poem provides a context for the struggling Blount sisters and the public to understand the notion that the subjection of women is a literary problem. Pope opens his third stanza with the couplet, “Too much your sex is by their forms confined, / Severe to all, but most to womankind” (lines 31-32).

The smooth transition from discussing life in terms of genre to the subjection of “womankind” obscures the profoundly radical nature of the notion that a limitation of “forms” constitutes this state of subjection. Given the context of this couplet, the plural noun “forms” signifies both the rules of social propriety and the standards of a particular literary genre. The following line, “Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide,” completes the effacement of the distinction between these two connotations of form (line 33). “Custom” simultaneously describes a literary and social confinement that is “severe to all, but most to womankind.” Pope’s discussion of these “formal…chains” within verse form suggests that his epistle seeks to exemplify a strategy for living within this state of confinement (line 42). In declaring his desire to shape his self according to the rules of “an innocent gay farce,” Pope provides a model for responding to the confining “forms” of a repressive society. With the personal pronoun “your” in the phrase “your sex,” Pope directly engages both his addressee and the public who reads their seemingly intimate exchange.

The pronoun “Your” marks a shift in the poem from the more abstract portrait of Voiture and the narrator’s imitation of his form of life to the more immediate subject of the reader’s fate. Through introducing this personal pronoun in its possessive form, Pope posits a common sense of belonging among its audience to a particular “sex.” Since the poem culminates in a triumphant “our,” the phrase “your sex” at the opening of the third stanza reveals the developing constitution of a community defined in part by its confinement. The caesura in the second line of this couplet, “Severe to all, but most to Womankind,” emphasizes the increasingly level of specificity in Pope’s imagining of this community. While “all” may be readers and imitators of Voiture, only a particular sex, “your sex,” suffer the most from “severe” forms.

The emergence of Pope’s audience as a subject of the poem through the possessive pronoun “your” raises the question of election which the second line of this couplet appears to answer. The third stanza of Pope’s epistle culminates in a call for this elected audience to reject the role of “virtuous wife” and embrace a retired community that preserves the “free innocence of life” through its poetic practice (line 46 and 45). After his transformation of the audience into a part of the poem, the emotional intensity of the stanza builds into the exclamatory couplet: “Ah quit not the free Innocence of Life! / For the dull glory of Wife!” (lines 45-46).[6] Pope uses “innocence” in the first stanza to describe Voiture’s “wisely careless” and “innocently gay life” (line 11). In the second stanza, Pope vows to imitate Voiture in constructing a life that appears as “an innocent gay farce” (line 25). The word “Innocence” returns in the third stanza in the form an appeal to the reader not to abandon a state of paradise that they already inhabit. The construction “quit not” situates the reader within a state of purity analogous to the biblical vision of a Garden of Eden.

Through opposing this state of moral purity to the “dull Glory of a virtuous Wife,” Pope suggests that a “virtuous” life is a confining form made necessary by pride. “Made slaves by honor,” women pursue the position of wife to achieve the status of virtue bestowed upon them by a patriarchal English society (line 36). The crucial negation “quit not” implores the female reader to withdrawal from her virtuous and honorable position in society in order to realize “the free innocence of life” within an epistolary community of friends. Following the emotional climax of the exclamatory couplet, Pope offers a more subdued and prescriptive image of a state of Epicurean retirement. With extensive knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman poetry, Pope is certainly aware that his portrait of a retired life of ease invokes the Horatian notion of otium as well as the related legacy of the Epicurean garden. In response to the tyranny of marriage, Pope’s speaker advises the reader, “Nor let false shows, or empty titles please: / Aim not at joy, but rest content with ease” (lines 47-48).

A comma marks the caesura in each line after the fourth syllable, which creates a sense of equivalence between the two negations “Nor let false shows” and “Aim not at joy.” This equivalence associates “joy” with the “false shows” that lead women to unknowingly contribute to their own servitude in their stubborn pursuit of fame. The narrator asks the reader to “rest content with ease,” or a more stable sense of pleasure founded on a withdrawal from rather than a fulfillment of physical desire. Pope’s conception of a virtuous withdrawal from a life of servitude echoes Epicurus’ advice to his younger friend Menoeceus to reject the “pleasure of the profligate” and embrace the “simple life” in which “the body is free from pain and the mind from anxiety.”[7] In the absence of pain and anxiety, Menoeceus can seek to cultivate a stable and just experience of pleasure that Epicurus terms ataraxia. Pope’s injunction to “rest content” expresses the foundation of this state of “ease” in a withdrawal from the social position of a “virtuous wife.” In asking his reader to “rest” or “remain” within a state of “free innocence,” Pope reveals the exemplary function of a poem that must show how one accesses this already existing freedom of life.

Since Pope makes his appeal for a retired life of ease in a published epistle in heroic couplet form, it appears that his conception of a withdrawn community is not entirely separate from the political sphere. Although he primarily discusses Pope’s later, satiric epistles, William Dowling’s argument that Augustan poets politicize the private sphere through their epistolary practice in fact holds most true in Pope’s early epistles to ladies.[8] “In a world threatened by fragmentation and alienation,” Dowling explains, Pope resurrects the memory of an innocent community “by writing not merely epistles but verse epistles, poems in which the isolation symbolized by epistolary solitude is then opposed and redeemed by verse as an institutionalized mode of public utterance” (Dowling 11).

From a state of solitude intensified by his status as a physically disabled Catholic, Pope provides his friend an example of how to engage with the public without becoming subjected to it. The formal structure of his epistle “redeems” his solitude by inscribing the reading public or the “epistolary audience” as a “presence” within a private letter to a friend (Dowling 12). While the formal structure of the “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture” undoubtedly addresses a public audience, it interpellates this audience not necessarily as members of a pre-capitalist “traditional society,” as Dowling believes, but rather as potential constituents of an always possible epistolary community (Dowling 15).

As a result of his overly rigid conception of the opposition between “solipsism” and “community,” Dowling fails to appreciate that the solitary withdrawal from which Pope writes acts as a condition of his imagined or interpellated community’s possibility. In his epistle to Miss Blount, Pope appeals to the public through his advice to a young lady troubled by her precarious position within the marriage market. He implores her to reject the role of “virtuous wife,” which would subject her to a “tyrant” and obstruct the constitution of literary friendships (lines 46 and 40). Pope’s portrait of Pamela, a young woman who succeeds in the marriage market, in the fourth stanza of this epistle depicts the stifling confinement of marriage as an obstacle to any form of literary self-fashioning. Through the fulfillment of her “prayers,” Pamela is cursed with the “false shows” and “empty titles” of a successful young woman (lines 49 and 47). Pope emphasizes the paradoxical nature of her accomplishment in the following couplet: “She glares in balls, front-boxes, and the Ring, / A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing!” (lines 53-54).

Pamela’s status as a married upper-class woman allows her to appear at dances, plays, and the fashionable “ring” in Hyde Park without any damage to her reputation. The verb “glares” establishes the importance of vision to a couplet that culminates in transforming Pamela into a purely physical or seen object. Through gaining her right to see and be seen in public places of entertainment, Pamela unknowingly submits to her own objectification. By the second line of the couplet, Pamela no longer “glares.” The list of adjectives, “vain, unquiet, glittering, and wretched,” appears to simultaneously describe the public venues identified in the first line and the “thing” that concludes the second. As the wife of a wealthy man, Pamela exists within these public spaces as an “Ornament,” or a “proud declaration” of her husband’s ability to “maintain” her in a state of idleness (Rumbold 1). Although each of these arenas should offer the opportunity for reciprocal gazing, it seems that the power of the male gaze in the public sphere transforms the once glaring Pamela into nothing more than a “wretched thing.” Without the capacity to look, and hence interpret the world, Pamela looses her ability to fashion herself as a subject.

The cautionary tale of Pamela who fails to follow Pope’s strategy of simultaneous withdrawal and engagement with the world would have been immediately relevant to Teresa Blount, the poem’s original addressee. Pope composed the “Epistle to a Young Lady, with the Work of Voiture” in the same year that Teresa’s father died and it “became clear that the [Blount] estate could not meet the obligations laid in his will…” for his daughters’ dowries (Rumbold 60). Within a Catholic community that “felt its persecution most keenly in financial terms,” Teresa’s lack of a dowry that reflected her family noble’s heritage limited her marriage prospects to men from less dignified backgrounds (Rumbold 58). During this period, Teresa and her sister Patty participated in an epistolary game with fellow Catholic aristocrats that was modeled on the Rambouillet salon of early seventeenth century Paris. In letters inspired by the charming raillery of Voiture, who was one of the most well-known members of this salon, the eligible children of a persecuted aristocracy practiced the art of courtship.

Pope’s portrait of a young woman “cursed” by the fulfillment of her “prayers” undoubtedly pleased Teresa since she had only remote odds of succeeding in her game of courtship. As a “landless cripple,” Pope was not a part of this game and thus had a sense of isolation from the marriage market in which some of his friends were actively engaged (Rumbold 53). In her analysis of Pope’s “Epistle to Miss Blount,” Valerie Rumbold suggests that it was “tempting” or desirable for Pope to undermine the “vested interests of more fortunate men” with his scathing critique of marriage (53). While this may indeed have been true, it appears rather cynical to allow this to be the primary means of interpreting his call for a community constituted by a new form of human relations. In the fifth stanza of the poem, Pope conceptualizes the poetic practice that will bring this community of friends into existence as “good humour” (line 61). Pope reconfigures “good humour,” which was conventionally understood at the time as exhibiting a proper form of behavior or disposition, into a literary practice of establishing friendships through letters.

If the reader falls victim to the marriage god Hymen, the speaker advises: “Good humour teaches charms to last, / Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past” (lines 61-62). After warning his audience not to trust its “now resistless charms,” Pope posits “good humour” as a means to “teach” or train charms “to last” (line 59). When read out of context, this conception of “good humour” may appear as practical advice for a wife who needs to establish a lasting relationship with her spouse. Within the context of a poem framed by an invocation of a dead author, Pope’s reconfiguration of “good humour” must be read as form of writing that creates a certain temporal confusion. The adverb “Still” that begins the second line of this couplet emphasizes the lasting quality of writing, which continually establishes friendships with new readers. The new “conquests” of good humour occur within the present as a result of its preservation in language. Following the dictates of “good humour,” Pope gives space to the past in order to allow it to become the present. Through resurrecting the past in the name of Vincent de Voiture, Pope exemplifies the practice of “good humour” through which he hopes to constitute a new community of friends.

The couplet that follows the discussion of the necessity of good humour in marriage marks an abrupt departure from what may have appeared as practical advice for a young married woman. Pope begins the next stanza, “Thus Voiture’s early care still shone the same, / and Monthausier was only changed in name” (lines 69-70). The adverb “thus” equates the preceding conception of “good humour” as the only means to secure a relationship with Voiture’s epistolary love for his married friend. With the continuity between these two stanzas, Pope seeks to accentuate the literary quality of “good humour.” Voiture’s “early care” refers to his life-long devotion, much of it expressed in letters, to the daughter of the noble Madame de Rambouillet. As an untitled son of a wealthy wine merchant and therefore a part of the bourgeoisie, it was not possible for Voiture to publicly consummate his love for Julie de Rambouillet. When Julie finally consented to marry an eligible long-time admirer, the Duc de Monthausier, at the age of thirty-two, she left behind a devastated Voiture with whom she maintained an active epistolary friendship until his death in 1648.

The publication of an English translation of Voiture’s Familiar and Courtly Letters in 1696 and again in 1700 created a sensation in England that gave new life to the epistolary relation of these two lovers.[9] Pope gives space to the life of Voiture by first invoking his past love and then allowing him to love again in the perpetually innocent and living field of language. After Julie de Rambouillet becomes the property of the Duc de Monthausier, Voiture’s love or “early care still shone the same” because he had established a literary bond with the object of his devotion. In the second couplet of this stanza, Pope shifts to a present tense and a plural subject to describe the reanimation of this epistolary love: “By this, ev’n now they live, ev’n now they charm, / Their wit still sparkling and their flames still warm” (lines 71-72).

Pope marks his shift from Voiture’s past with the “By this,” which allows Voiture’s letters to “make new conquests” in the name of a loving community in the present. The repetitive construction of the first line of the couplet emphasizes the presence of these lovers in the present. Pope’s hospitality to the names and hence memory of these lovers allows them to “live” and “charm” in the present. The repetition of “still” in the second line of the couplet reinforces the sense that the “care” and “charm” these lovers exhibited constituted “good humour.” The “still” attributed to “good humour” returns to depict the continual warmth and “sparkling” wit that allows this epistolary love to not only live again, but also expand within the community of the present.

In hosting the name of Voiture within his epistle to Miss Blount, Pope exemplifies a form of literary friendship that both preserves and promotes a poetic community. The exemplary nature of Pope’s epistle consists in resurrecting and joining this community rather than unearthing Voiture as an exemplum of epistolary love. From the perspective of Pope’s epistle, Voiture’s letters demonstrate a misplaced desire to physically possess Julie de Rambouillet. In one of his translated letters to Julie, Voiture demonstrates his complete lack of ease with the desperate plea: “Do not think that our love is a whit the more private, for the pains we take to conceal it; the Dejection which is visible in my Countenance, speaks plainer than anybody can do. Let us then lay aside Discretion which cost us so dear, and give me, after Dinner, an opportunity of seeing you, if you would have me live ” (70).

Since Voiture confesses in another letter to Julie that “all my words [to her] will bear a double construction,” his threat of publicly disclosing their illicit love affair should be as at once playful and menacing (70). According to the logic of Pope’s epistle to Miss Blount, the problem with this plea is not the intensity of its passion, but rather the use it makes of the letter form. In her study of the development of epistolary fiction, Ruth Perry notes that letters always gesture elsewhere because “the climactic events” they discuss remain “beyond words” (86). While Voiture uses this attribute of letters in hopes of provoking a physical encounter with his loved object, Pope employs his epistle as a means of constituting a community made possible by the physical absence of its members.

The impossibility of Voiture’s love for Julie and its resulting confinement within the field of letters explains why Pope chooses to address Miss Blount and the broader public through the work of this slighted lover. As a bourgeoisie man with “a stature three inches below the middle one,” Voiture was restricted, perhaps against his own intentions, to practicing the “good humour” of an epistolary lover (21). Through appealing to the internal audience of first Teresa and then Patty Blount with the work of Voiture, Pope interpellates them as his epistolary lovers in the mold of Julie de Rambouillet. In a letter written only a few years after the original composition of the “Epistle to a Young Lady, with the Work of Voiture,” Pope asks the unmarried Betty Marriot to “Cast your eyes upon Paper, Madam, there you may look innocently.”[10] Rather than seeking to provoke a physical consummation of his passion, Pope implores Betty to indulge in a love restricted to the boundaries of the page. In his epistle to the Blounts, Pope further abstracts himself from his addressee by offering the “lines” of Voiture as a mediating space in which epistolary lovers can meet.

The opening couplet of Pope’s “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture” evacuates his self through a reanimation of the “lines” and life of Voiture. Pope immediately shifts the attention of the reader away from his relationship to the addressee: “In these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine, / And all the writer lives in every line” (lines 1-2). The preposition “in” begins the poem through establishing its location “in” the thoughts stimulated by the work of an author shared by the Pope and his audience. As a widely read writer of letters, Voiture represented an institutional figure that Pope draws on to situate his poem within a space that is irreducible to either writer or reader. Since the “loves and graces shine” in “the gay thoughts” that Voiture continues to inspire, this opening couplet configures the entire poem as an effect of Voiture’s work. “All the writer lives in every line” refers therefore to both the widely published work of Voiture and the particular verse epistle to follow. The association of light with the verb “shine” communicates a sense of vitality that Pope reinforces with the verb “breathe” that concludes his opening stanza.

In the final couplet of his opening stanza, Pope emphasizes the always potentially living nature of language by situating his epistle within the experience of reading and thus living with Voiture. The impetus for Pope’s conception of an epistolary community lies in the transformation of “death” into “breathe” in the following couplet: “The smiles and loves had died in Voiture’s death, / But that for ever in his lines they breathe” (lines 19-20). Voiture “played the trifle, life, away” through an epistolary practice that enabled his charms to exist within a linguistic space that is always potentially living (line 12).

Pope establishes a number of breaks in the awkwardly constructed final line of this stanza to isolate and hence highlight “they breathe.” Since Voiture consecrated his love in letters, it can forever be reanimated by the admiring breath of later readers. In the final stanza of his epistle, Pope returns to the communal experience of reading Voiture in order to triumphantly reveal the power of his loving community in letters.

Pope concludes his “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Work of Voiture” with a corporeal conception of reading that appeals to his double audience to join an abstracted or retired community of readers. The affective exchange between Voiture and “you” in one of Pope’s final couplets offers an image of reading that threatens to dissolve the very category of the reader. Pope writes, “Pleased, while with smiles his happy lines you view, / And finds a fairer Rambouillet in you” (lines 75-76). Miss Blount, or any other reader, physically reflects the “happy lines of Voiture” with “smiles” that mark her material participation in the continuing existence of these “lines.”

Through hosting the work of Voiture within his own epistle, Pope enables it to assume agency within the present. Voiture’s charming good humour returns to interpellate Miss Blount and the broader epistolary audience as a “fairer Rambouillet.” While Voiture’s desire to possess Julie had obstructed the complete transformation of his love into language, his “ghost” capitalizes on the distance of death to find an even more innocent love in the eternally available present (line 74). In identifying Voiture’s present reader as a “fairer” or more innocent object of his devotion, Pope crystallizes the paradoxical logic of an epistle that measures hope by the amount of distance it can establish from the present.

Pope relinquishes ownership over his self in order to provide his guest, Voiture, with a space to breathe within the crowded field of language. Through this act of self-effacement, Pope exemplifies the poetic process through which one transforms oneself into a member of an epistolary community. In the final couplet of his poem, Pope announces the coming of a new community of friends: “And dead as living, ‘tis our author’s pride, / Still to charm those who charm the world beside” (lines 79-80). The shift from the pronoun “you” in the previous couplet to the collective “our” marks the accomplishment of his interpellation of a new epistolary community.

His interpellation of both Miss Blount and the broader public as readers of Voiture acts as the condition of this community’s possibility since it is guaranteed by a collective ownership over the language of the past. As readers of the same “happy” lines, these interpellated or called for individuals share an affective bond that allows them to claim a collective ownership over Voiture. Once the interpellated individual acknowledges his claim for Voiture’s always living “charm,” he can demonstrate this responsibility through the literary practice of good humour. The “fairer Rambouillet” thus “charm[s] the world beside” in recognition of the past which she simultaneously honors and perpetuates in her own epistolary production within the present.

Pope surrenders all claims to his self in the “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Work of Voiture” in recognition of his place within a community founded by its hospitable relationship to the past. The address of first Teresa and then Patty Blount with this epistle represents an act of friendship that asks these unmarried women to realize the poetic potential within their exclusion from the centers of social life in early eighteenth century England. With his acknowledgement of the presence of a broader reading public, Pope seeks to begin the process of constituting a community in which he can join the Blount sisters as a loving friend. As a community made possible by the confining forms of a fragmented and patriarchal society, Pope’s vision of an epistolary collective necessarily resides at the very margins of life.

[1] Perry, Ruth. Women, Letters, and the Novel, New York: AMS Press, 1980: page 69. [2] Rumbold, Valerie. Women’s Place in Pope’s World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989: page 2. [3] Pope, Alexander. “Letter to Teresa and Martha Blount,” Alexander Pope: the Major Works, ed. Pat Rogers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006): page 151. [4] Pope, Alexander. “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture,” Alexander Pope: the Major Works, ed. Pat Rogers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006): pages 46-48. All citations refer to this edition unless otherwise noted. [5] Oxford English Dictionary. “Farce,” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. [6] Pope, Alexander. “Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture,” Alexander Pope: Minor Poems, Twickenham Edition, ed. Norman Ault and John Butt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954): pages 62-65. Although they both claim to have incorporated the 1735 revisions, there is a discrepancy in this couplet between the epistle in the “Minor Poems” collection and the “Major Works of Pope.” I have quoted the former in deference to its greater authority and my preference for it. [7] Epicurus. “Letter to Menoeceus,” Letters, Principal Doctrines, and Vatican Sayings, trans. Russell M. Greer (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1964): page 57. [8] Dowling, William. The Epistolary Moment: the Poetics of the Eighteenth-Century Verse Epistle, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991. [9] Voiture, Vincent. Familiar and courtly letters written by Monsieur Voiture to persons of the greatest honour, wit, and quality of both sexes in the court of France, trans. Mr. Dryden and Mr. Dennis (London: Printed for Sam Briscoe, 1700). [10] Pope, Alexander. “Letter to Miss Marriot,” The Correspondence of Alexander Pope: Volume 1, ed. George Sherburn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956): page 205-206. Quoted by Rumbold, page 50.

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