Monday, May 21, 2007

So, what is this Dunciad and where can I find it?

Alexander Pope, according to Wikipedia the third most quoted author in the English language, was born May 21, 1688.

Last week I announced that I was returning to a project I have been engaged in for almost half a century – my paper on Alexander Pope’s Dunciad. I have not yet figured out exactly how to publish my paper on the web, but for a start I have made a separate blog – The Dunciad. This post is an extract of a post I have made there.

A blog is not the ideal medium for this kind of publication – primarily because, to quote Wikipedia, a blog is a website where entries are written in chronological order and displayed in reverse chronological order. But a blog provides an easy way for readers to give feedback, so for now that’s what I will use.

Many manuscripts of Pope’s poetry have survived, but there is no surviving manuscript of The Dunciad. We do have, however, what scholar Maynard Mack has called “collations” of manuscripts against the published text that a friend made for Pope in copies of two editions of The Dunciad. My Master’s Essay is about these "collations." At the time I wrote it my essay no complete transcription of the “collations” had been published.

In order to understand my essay, the reader should have at hand a copy of the text of The Dunciad as 1728. Since this is not readily at hand, one of the things I am going to do is publish this text on the web, along with my essay.

To read more, see my blog The Dunciad.

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

The reader should have at hand a copy of the text of The Dunciad as 1728.

I was counting myself out rather quickly after reading that, until I read your next sentence.