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|Marianne's taste in literature--Pope
Written by Barbara
(9/24/2012 10:02 p.m.)
In last week's reading, Marianne declared that she could never be happy with any man whose taste in books and music did not exactly match her own. Willoughby is put to the test in their very first interview. As Elinor tells her " You know what he thinks of Cowper and Scott; you are certain of his estimating their beauties as he ought, and you have received every assurance of his admiring Pope no more than is proper."
Marianne prides herself on her insight and deep feelings, but many of the views she holds are precisely what being an adherent to the principles of sensibility and the Romantic movement would dictate that she feels. Alexander Pope had been very popular as a poet up until the mid-18th century but by the time S&S was set, he had fallen out of favour. In some circles he was criticized for making fun of women and for having an immoral, irreverent tone in some of his poetry and satires.
One of Pope's best known works was 'The Rape of the Lock', which is described as a 'mock-heroic epic'. The Rape of the Lock' was written because of a true incident the poet saw knew of where a gentleman who lusted after a young lady cut off a lock of her hair, and this was treated with moral outrage. The poem is called a 'mock-heroic' style and kind of satirizes making such a big deal out of such an incident and his irreverent treatment of it. An excerpt:
The poem, of course, is much longer. Compare the incident in the poem to this scene from Ch. 12:
"Oh! Elinor," she cried, "I have such a secret to tell you about Marianne. I am sure she will be married to Mr. Willoughby very soon."
Marianne and Willoughby disapprove of Pope, yet here we have a scene where he takes a lock of her hair, similar to what happens in Pope's poem--although in this case, Marianne willingly gives up the lock of hair. I wonder if Marianne and Willoughby object to the irreverant tone that seems to mock romantic gestures such as this? Or perhaps Marianne willingly allows Willoughby to take such a liberty because she disapproves of Pope?
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