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Notes on criticism


Bagehot : Walter Bagehot (1826-1877) was an economist and a journalist. He worked as a banker before becoming editor of the Economist in 1860.

discordia concors : harmonious discord

Dryden : John Dryden (1631-1700) was a poet, dramatist, translator and critic.

Epicurean : Epicurus (341-270BC) was a Greek philosopher who believed that 'a blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness' and further 'if the things that produce the pleasures of profligate men really freed them from fears of the mind concerning celestial and atmospheric phenomena, the fear of death, and the fear of pain; if, further, they taught them to limit their desires, we should never have any fault to find with such persons, for they would then be filled with pleasures from every source and would never have pain of body or mind, which is what is bad' and 'the wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity'.

Metaphysical : the Metaphysical poets were distinguished by their use of elaborate images or conceits, often accompanied by  intellectual argument to express emotional states. The label was applied to the poets John Donne, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert and Henry Vaughan. The term was first used by John Dryden in his Discourse Concerning Satire from 1693.

Miching malice : This is miching mallecho; it means mischief. Hamlet Act III Scene II, Hamlet to Ophelia. The phrase is Hamlet's description of the murder of the king by pouring poison in his ear, which is enacted on the stage in dumb show by the troupe of actors visiting Helsingor. It is difficult to see what Lamb reads in Shelley's verse to parallel this. Shelley used Peter Bell the Third in part to reply to this strange criticism.

Pope : Alexander Pope (1688-1744) poet and mis-translator of the works of Homer.


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