John Gay, The Shepherd's Week

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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


, Volume VI, May 1709, where Philips's pastorals opened, and Pope's closed, the volume. Both Tickell and Philips were members of Addison's Whig…

3039 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "The Shepherd's Week". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 May 2004 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

7721 The Shepherd's Week 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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