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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: 18 November 2018

Rochester, Lady Betty and the Post-Boy

Rochester, Lady Betty and the Post-Boy

(p.66) Rochester, Lady Betty and the Post-Boy
Reading Rochester

Edward Burns

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Rochester's poem ‘To the Post Boy’, which captures the centre-stage of Rochester in the service of utmost self-dislocation. It can be argued that Rochester himself created the idea of the beauty of Lady Betty, or at least of presenting such beauty in the terms required by his prologue. Lady Betty has given a personal meaning to a text where a woman is imitated by a man. Lady Betty angles and redirects possible offensive words of Rochester's, reflecting on the soft captivity of the King to women. There is perhaps more in common between Rochester's unrespectable language of the resilient body and Shakespeare's pastoral than might at first seem. The pastoral of Rochester can also transform threat and death to pleasure and life. Rochester resists the writerly practise of fixing the subject.

Keywords:   Rochester, poem, To the Post Boy, Lady Betty, pastoral

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