- Poetry from 1660 to 1780: Civil War, Restoration, Revolution, ed. by Robert De-Maria, Jr. and Duncan Wu, and: Restoration Comedy, ed. by David Womersley (review)
- The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats
- The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats
- Volume 36, Number 2, Spring 2004
- pp. 185-186
- View Citation
185 con. The age of Walpole represented the nadir of the idea that ‘‘estates’’ comprehended the realm. With Walpole came new circumstances and therefore a need to consider the implications of a developing political structure. Pity those implications are not explored here. Charles W. A. Prior Queen’s University at Kingston Miscellanies in Prose and Verse by Pope, Swift and Gay, 4 volumes, ed. Alexander Pettit. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2002. Multiple pagination in each volume . $475. Few volumes of eighteenth-centuryliterature contain more good things than Miscellanies. To read the Table of Contents is to take a tour through the best satire of the century, most of it by Swift, but amply sprinkled with important piecesby others;herewefind,intheiroriginalreader -friendly type-size with ample margins , and on high quality paper, ‘‘Abolishing Christianity,’’‘‘Tritical Essay,’’the ‘‘Bickerstaff Papers,’’ ‘‘The History of John Bull,’’ ‘‘Meditation upon a Broomstick ,’’ ‘‘Memoirs of P.P., Clerk of This Parish,’’ ‘‘Stradling versus Stiles,’’ ‘‘The Art of Political Lying,’’ ‘‘Peri Bathous,’’ ‘‘Cadenus and Vanessa,’’ ‘‘God’s Revenge against Punning,’’‘‘A Modest Proposal ,’’and an ample sampling of Swift’s shorter poems. It is a treasure for Scriblerians , and while the titles are all found elsewhere and today in more informative editions, the sense one has of being in the presence of Scriblerian thought and production may never be felt more richly than when paging through these four volumes . Indeed, for The Scriblerian, Miscellanies might well be considered the foundational text. Mr. Pettit’s Introduction is brief, but adequately provides the history of the compilation and publication of Miscellanies ; clearly Pope was the organizational genius of the enterprise, whether from fair motives (to swim down the gutter of time with Swift) or foul (to have Swift swim down the gutter of time with him). Mr. Pettit correctly suggests that ‘‘Miscellanies [is] an extended instance of lanx satura, the ancient model that regards satire as a ‘mixed’or ‘full platter,’’’ although unfortunately the rest of his sentence seems garbled by a printer’s error. Mr. Pettit’s real service is his Appendix detailing allthatisknownatpresentabout the authorship of each piece, a very helpful accounting, including brief commentaries on disputed attributions. ‘‘I am very sensible what a weakness and presumption it is, to reason against the general humour and disposition of the world,’’ but I would urge every library to reallocate its 2004 budget for purchasing critical monographs on cross-dressing in order to purchase instead this reprint edition of Miscellanies—Foucault is a fad, but great wit is forever. Melvyn New University of Florida Poetry from 1660 to 1780: Civil War, Restoration, Revolution, ed. Robert DeMaria , Jr. and Duncan Wu. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. Pp. 183. $52.95; $49.95 (paper). Restoration Comedy, ed. David Womersley . Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. Pp. 192. $49.95; $17.95 (paper). The editors and Blackwell intend these texts (two of the seven in the series, ‘‘Blackwell Essential Literature’’) for classroom use, with each volume containing ‘‘a general introduction designed to introduce the reader to those central works,’’ as stated, redundantly, by the series editor. Introductions should intro- 186 duce. Yet most of the work here is interpretative , hardly helpful for students coming to these works for the first time. More troubling is that the editions have no annotations. The poetry text offers Books I and II from Paradise Lost and selections from Dryden, Rochester, Swift, Pope, Gray, and Collins, as well as ‘‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’’ and ‘‘The Deserted Village .’’Two blurbs on the back cover compete for the reader’s eye: the first on the general series states that ‘‘traditional favourites are placed alongside less wellknown titles, reflecting the ways in which the literary canon has changed in recent years’’; the second, that the book ‘‘offers readers authoritative texts of the central works of the age from a wide range of poets,’’ which, presumably, describes the nine male poets whose works are included . Restoration Comedy offers two plays, The Country Wife and The Way of the World. It also has two blurbs of the back cover: the first, identical to the blurb in the other volume; the second, implying that one only needs these two plays to get ‘‘the flavour of the bawdy...