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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: 21 November 2017

From ‘Nothing’ to ‘Silence’: Rochester and Pope

From ‘Nothing’ to ‘Silence’: Rochester and Pope

Chapter:
(p.137) From ‘Nothing’ to ‘Silence’: Rochester and Pope
Source:
Reading Rochester
Author(s):

Paul Baines

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317644.009

This chapter explores Rochester's ‘Nothing’ in relation to 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope. The biggest gesture of Pope towards Rochester was to publish ‘On Silence’, which is a juvenile imitation of Rochester's ‘Upon Nothing’. ‘Upon Nothing’ is highly allusive although Pope credited Rochester's poem as his source. Turning paradox into encomium is another way of dealing with the problem of nothing. Rochester is picking up the way in which the family is used as a model of the universe aside from the political and military metaphors that were used to envisage the opposition between God and Satan. Rochester's use of the paradoxical and devious language of nothing is praised for separating the positive and negative senses.

Keywords:   Rochester, Upon Nothing, Alexander Pope, On Silence, metaphors, paradox, English poet, poem, nothing

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