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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

Negativity and Affirmation in Rochester's Lyric Poetry

Negativity and Affirmation in Rochester's Lyric Poetry

(p.84) Negativity and Affirmation in Rochester's Lyric Poetry
Reading Rochester

Simon Dentith

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the affirmation and negativity that characterize Rochester's lyric poetry. Rochester puts a tone of aristocratic superiority on his misogyny wherein the sexual act transforms into a drudgery to be performed by social inferiors. The nihilism arises at the assumption of class superiority and the other side of the misogyny. The pervasive scepticism of Rochester reaches to the vocabulary of love while it is in its positive aspect, which can be abandoned when faced by the torments of jealousy. Rochester produced a highly nuanced affirmation by juggling the discursive economy of the poem. Rochester bends poetry's discursive possibilities towards provisional affirmations at least. The precise historical location of accents and their specific complexity provide general force to the poems. The question of self-presentation in the lyrics of Rochester is closely tied to the socially-marked skill with which he handles socially-marked discourses.

Keywords:   Rochester, misogyny, superiority, lyric poetry, sexual act, nihilism, negativity, affirmation

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