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|標題:||The One Virtue among the Many Values: Pope, Neoclassicism, and Satire
The Augustan England was an august society in which the Puritans' moral heat was still there while the libertinism of the Restoration, followed by religious and political incertitude, the increasing wealth and prosperity, the party strife, the intermittent wars, etc., formed a neoclassical background for the flourishing of satire. As a neoclassical Augustan, Pope was a satirist and moralist whose life experience helped to mold his satirical inclination and whose poetical career showed his moral consciousness. Besides trying to revive the classical style and attitude, neoclassicists like Pope wished to uphold virtues while attacking vices and ridiculing follies. They advocated a good number of values, among which antiquity, rules, decorum, generality, order, moderation, restraint, reason, harmony, proportion, balance, correctness, artfulness, etc., were those often associated with neoclassicism. In examining some typical works of Pope's, however, we find Pope also recognized the importance of genius, nature, passion, and fancy, that is, the values often associated with romanticism. This fact leads us to the conclusion that Pope was actually a middle-of-the-roader believing in the doctrine of golden mean. For him the sense of moderation was the primary virtue. By logical reasoning it is capable of coordinating other values. From textual and critical evidence, moderation proves to be the one central virtue, too, among so many neoclassical values, which make up what Pope and other Augustans call good sense. Our ending remark is: Pope is a humanist seeking truth, like a romantic prophet, for mankind. And his ultimate truth might be: moderation is the golden means by which to achieve enduring human happiness and to create a golden time. With this understanding, one might hesitate to call him without modification a typical neoclassicist in the Age of Enlightenment.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系所|
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