John Gay: Trivia (3214 words)


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Having proved his skill at pastoral burlesque in The Shepherd's Week, published on 15 April 1714 (see separate entry), Gay set out to demonstrate his versatility and try his hand at georgic burlesque. Trivia: Or, The Art of Walking the Streets of London, published a year and a half later, on 26 January 1716, takes Virgil's Georgics, published in 29 B.C., as an ironic model for a mock account of outdoor life in London, to satirise the noise, stench and danger of contemporary life on its streets. Gay's satiric thrust is aimed both at idle aristocratic Londoners of the day, at one extreme of the class system, and at loud and aggressive labourers at the other. The playful irony that runs through the poem is intended to appeal …

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Trivia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 July 2004 [, accessed 19 September 2020.]

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