Alexander Pope: The Rape of the Lock

(2583 words)

The Rape of the Lock is, by common consent, the finest example of mock epic poetry in the English language. It was initially written as an occasional poem concerning a feud between two land-owning, Catholic families, the Petres and the Fermors. The young Lord Petre had cut a lock of hair from the head of Arabella Fermor, a fashionable young society lady, and both she and her family had taken offence. Pope had been told of the incident by his Catholic friend, John Caryll, who asked if he could write a poem to make a jest of the division between the two families and “laugh them together again.” The Rape of the Locke (with an 'e'), in 2 Cantos (334 lines), written in less than a fortnight in the autumn of 1711, and …

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Citation:
Gordon, Ian. "The Rape of the Lock". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7525, accessed 30 July 2014.]