Talk:The Dunciad

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I think Pope is hilarious, second only to Swift when I'm a darker mood. Since my advanced degree isn't in English I usually stay away myself ... btw the Dunciad has an interesting, um, applicability to this project in some of its aspects (maybe you could work "inclusionists" in there somewhere?). Antandrus 03:32, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to have to refactor this talk page before too long, but yes, absolutely. I often think of the Moderns when dealing with some folks. The Atari muses to the ear of kings, the blogs and comix and stews, the mystical truth of the miracle cure, and a fry of these folks crawling about. I have very nearly used the King of Brobdignag's sentence on VfD: "I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of odious little vermin nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the earth." (Best insult ever.) Honestly, I think that what Swift and Pope were facing was remarkably similar to what Internet users are facing today. The printing press was 15th c., but the print revolution was 18th c. With cheap paper and no royal control, Protestant nations (i.e. where there was no Church to be afraid of printing) were very suddenly awash in print. It only took a little money, and your Private Theory could be printed. Printers were themselves eager to feed their shops. The more scandalous, the better. Newspapers began. Long books now had people coming up with the SparkNotes of the day. Those who had grown up in the old world, of reading expensive books and becoming expert in Latin and Greek, were now facing yammering yokels who wanted to say that they'd read that the Bible clearly shows that Lord Somers is the anti-Christ, that they didn't need Cicero, etc. There was too much information for anyone to figure out the good from the bad. So, some people got to be silly asses who believed what they read, and some people became information Luddites who only read Homer and Virgil. And some, like Pope and Swift, shouted at the morons who read ignorantly and became ignorantly read, whether they read old books or new ones. Geogre 05:33, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

An excellent article so far: keep up the good work! --Tom 5/Jun/05

Not sure but I think the New Dunciad was published 1742, not 1743

Why is there no mention in the article of the extreme irony of the Dunciad being so damned boring? The only good parts are those rare sections that aren't stuffed to the gills with names of (now) obscure writers. Since most of the poem consists of such lists, the joke can't be missed that a poem wherein Pope condemned Dullness is now dull as dull can be. Surely some critic somewhere has noted this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

That's exactly why Pope released the Dunciad variorum: With Notes Appended' identifying the Dunces! SEMTEX85 (talk) 16:28, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Ah, well, a little learning is a dangerous thing. The opening of book IV anticipates you. Pope says that Dulness will swallow him up, too, and that people will soon be so dull that they forget everything.
I'm not being too mean to you, either, because there are two separate questions. The first is topicality. All satires suffer from needing their satirical targets to be remembered and perceived as dangerous for the satire to work. Gulliver's Travels is just a bunch of dumb jokes no one gets, if the only thing you're looking for is the satire. People who know the history well feel the satire, but people who haven't studied the era and its history don't. But do people go to say that Gulliver is dull? Imagine watching The Daily Show or Not Necessarily the News or Ali G in 50 years, or 100 years, or 200 years. Will those be funny?
The reason people don't say that Gulliver is dull is that they can read prose in this novel-dominated age, and they can still think the situations are amusing. Dunciad is superb, extraordinary, fantastic, nearly perfect, but you may not be able to appreciate poetry anymore. The poem is not only not dull, it is great even if you don't know who Curll was or Theobald or Cibber. The satire doesn't deliver the same pay-out when you don't know the history, but it's still not "dull." The only way the poem is "dull" is the way Pope said it would be in Book IV: Dread Anarch has taken the singer and the song. Geogre (talk) 12:58, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi - just want to say that this is a fantastic page; I just taught THE DUNCIAD and while the students were confused, this helped them a lot to navigate this dense, wonderful poem. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:19, 28 September 2012 (UTC)