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

2362 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2003 [, accessed 25 May 2024.]

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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