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Reading Rochester$
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Edward Burns

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230380

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317644

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date: 16 January 2019

Rochester and Oldham: ‘High Rants in Profaneness’

Rochester and Oldham: ‘High Rants in Profaneness’

(p.187) Rochester and Oldham: ‘High Rants in Profaneness’
Reading Rochester

Raman Selden

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Rochester as the poetic mentor of English poet John Oldham. Oldham wrote a pastoral elegy after Rochester died on July 26, 1680. Rochester created poems wherein he develops an ironic persona, but his ironies are usually sparing and less systematic than that of Oldham. The letters of Rochester feature striking likeness to the ironic villain of Oldham. Oldham created several poems under Rochester's influence including ‘Upon the Author of the Play call'd Sodom’, ‘Dithyrambique on Drinking’, and ‘Sardanapalus’. ‘Upon the Author of the Play call'd Sodom’ is in some ways the most impressive Rochesterian piece because it attacks an author for his obscenity, but turns the insults unexpectedly against the insufficiencies of the talents of the author.

Keywords:   Rochester, John Oldham, poet, irony, Upon the Author of the Play call'd Sodom, Dithyrambique on Drinking, Sardanapalus, obscenity

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