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An Essay on Satire, Particularly on the Dunciad

Text in italics is enclosed between underscores (_italics_).

The Augustan Reprint Society



Particularly on the DUNCIAD.


Introduction by


Publication Number 132 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California, Los Angeles 1968

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George Robert Guffey, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Robert Vosper, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_


Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_ James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_ Ralph Cohen, _University of Virginia_ Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_ Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_ Earl Miner, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_ Everett T. Moore, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Lawrence Clark Powell, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_ James Sutherland, _University College, London_ H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_


Edna C. Davis, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

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Since the first publication of Walter Harte's _An Essay on Satire, Particularly on the Dunciad_,[1] it has reappeared more than once: the unsold sheets of the first edition were included in _A Collection of Pieces in Verse and Prose, Which Have Been Publish'd on Occasion of the Dunciad_ (1732), and the _Essay_ is also found in at least three late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century collections of poetry.[2] For several reasons, however, it makes sense to reprint the _Essay_ again. The three collections are scarce and have forbiddingly small type; I know of no other twentieth-century reprinting; and, perhaps most important, Aubrey Williams claims that "the critical value for the _Dunciad_ of Harte's poem has not been fully appreciated."[3] Its value can best be substantiated, or disputed, if it is rescued from its typographical limbo in the collections and reprinted from its more attractive first edition.

Probably the immediate reason for the _Essay_ was Harte's admiration for Pope, which arose in part from personal gratitude. On 9 February 1727, Harte wrote an unidentified correspondent that "Mr. Pope was pleased to correct every page" of his forthcoming _Poems on Several Occasions_ "with his own hand." Furthermore, Harte may have learned that Pope had petitioned Lady Sarah Cowper, in 1728, to use her influence to obtain him a fellowship in Exeter College, Oxford.[4]

But however appealing the _Essay_ may be as an installment on Harte's debt to Pope, there must obviously be better reasons for reprinting it. Harte himself doubtless had additional reasons for writing it. To understand them and the poem, we must also understand, at least in broad outline, the two traditional ways of evaluating satire which Harte and others of his age had inherited. One of them was distinctly at odds with Harte's aims; to the other he gave his support and made his own contribution.

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