Performing Gender in Augustan Criticism and Pope's To a Lady

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This piece explores the performance of gender in literary criticism of the period 1660-1740 and in Pope's To A Lady. Arguing that the use of gendered terms in literary criticism is part of the performance of gender, the essay draws on Judith Butler's work. The essay traces the use of explicitly and implicitly gendered terms in literary criticism in order to suggest the gender value assigned to particular technical aspects of verse. The essay closes with a reading of To a Lady which argues that the poem explores the relationship between the ideas of female inconstancy and male artistic virtue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2009
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Alexander Pope
  • literary criticism and theory 1660-1740
  • gender
  • performance
  • To A Lady
  • poetic techniques


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