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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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(p.1) Introduction
Reading Rochester

Edward Burns

Liverpool University Press

This introduction describes Rochester as the most irrepressibly destructive of all the English poets. The very idea of the anarchic libertine poet, as created in the gossip of his contemporaries and in the notoriety of unpublishably obscene texts, disrupts any attempt to account for his writings from within the institutions and procedures of the Academy. The essays that follow are introduced, but it concludes with Rochester perceived not as a challenging outsider, but as a figure central to his age, active in the articulation of a sceptical and committed language that offers us, as readers, a point of entry into late seventeenth-century culture as a whole.

Keywords:   Rochester, English poet, seventeenth-century culture, language, obscene texts, gossip, notoriety

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