John Gay: The Shepherd's Week

(3039 words)

John Gay's burlesque pastoral poem, The Shepherd's Week, has its origin in a literary-critical debate concerning the nature of pastoral poetry that took place in the early part of the eighteenth century. In April 1713 a series of five articles, written by Thomas Tickell (1686-1740) appeared in Richard Steele's The Guardian, arguing for a revival of the realistic English tradition in pastoral, going back especially to Spenser. Tickell particularly praised the pastoral poems of Ambrose Philips (1674-1749), but almost totally neglected those of Gay's friend, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), which had been published at the same time: in Tonson's Miscellany,…

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Gordon, Ian. "The Shepherd's Week". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 May 2004
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]