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Chapter 1 - Early Poems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 August 2020

Daniel Cook
Affiliation:
University of Dundee
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Summary

Chiefly focusing on Swift’s Cowleyan odes and epistles of the 1690s, this chapter demonstrates the author’s early rejection of conventional imitation in favour of a spontaneous form of appropriative writing. Railing against the accumulated habits of his seventeenth-century forebears, Swift repeatedly reveals in the early poems his own thwarted attempts to reinvent poetry for an unheroic age. Temporarily discarding the panegyric mode at the end of the decade, Swift found a new metafictional style that challenged the very medium of poetry. How can we adequately describe whispering or smells? If a table-book could talk would it have anything valuable to say? What would the petition of a barely literate waiting woman sound like? What happens if an overconfident member of your circle finishes one of your unfinishable ballads?

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Early Poems
  • Daniel Cook, University of Dundee
  • Book: Reading Swift's Poetry
  • Online publication: 10 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108888172.002
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  • Early Poems
  • Daniel Cook, University of Dundee
  • Book: Reading Swift's Poetry
  • Online publication: 10 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108888172.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Early Poems
  • Daniel Cook, University of Dundee
  • Book: Reading Swift's Poetry
  • Online publication: 10 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108888172.002
Available formats
×