Abstract

The irregular ebb and flow of John Gay's finances led him to identify, awkwardly, with those forced to earn a living by peddling goods. Trivia, or: The Art of Walking the Streets of London (1716) puts to good use his years of penury and pedestrianism. It is a didactic poem, modelled on works by Virgil and Horace, in which the reader is given advice on how to negotiate the increasingly crowded streets of the city. This essay shows how Gay, through extensive and witty reworking of his classical models, explores the growth of commerce, and the place of the poet within this commercial world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1471-6836
Print ISSN
0008-199X
Pages
pp. 338-367
Launched on MUSE
2009-11-18
Open Access
No
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