Bathos (280 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

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Bathos comes from the Greek for deep (as in bathyscape, bathymetric) and in the arts refers to an abrupt descent from the exalted to the banal, either in style or content. At best this is deliberate, as in satires where the figure is most often found. For example, in Canto III, ll.1-8, I of The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope builds a grand image of Hampton Court — one of the major palaces of the British monarch and situated on the Thames to the west of London— only to bring it crashing down to the domestic and everyday:

Close by those meads, for ever crowned with flowrs,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towrs,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighbring …

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Editors. "Bathos". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 16 January 2018.]

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