Alexander Pope, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady

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Pope wrote the

Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady

in early 1717. It was first published in his collected


, which came out in June of that year. The poem is Pope's attempt to demonstrate that he is “a man of feeling” by writing a heroic elegy in the style of Roman poets, such as Ovid. This convention involves expressions of high and lofty sentiment in response to a brave, or noble, death. Pope's poem is about a young woman who took her own life, apparently because her uncle barred her liaison with the man of her choice. The difficulty with the poem is that none of the specific circumstances leading to the unnamed lady's death are described, so that the reader is left to assume crucial details of the narrative. We are not told precisely why the lady committed suicide, or…

1441 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

5420 Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady 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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