Alexander Pope, Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry

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Peri Bathous: or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry is a mock Ars Poetica, or Art of Poetry, a parodic treatise on how not to write poetry. It is a humorous inversion of Longinus's classical treatise, Peri Hupsous: or, The Art of the Sublime (1st century AD). Pope takes Longinus's description of the five sources of the sublime – grandeur of thought; inspired passion; the effective use of rhetorical figures; nobility of diction; and the dignity of the overall composition – and ironically advocates their opposites as guidance in the modern poet's quest to achieve true profundity. Pope uses Longinus's treatise as a framework for the parody, but he does not denigrate him in Peri Bathous, any more than he does Homer in his mock epic The Rape of the Lock. Indeed, as is clear from An Essay on…

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Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2003 [, accessed 02 December 2023.]

2875 Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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