Pope's Epistle to Bathurst and the Meaning of Finance

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This article attempts to show that Alexander Pope's argument and poetic technique in the "Epistle to Bathurst" challenge the idea that words are like money or other economic tokens. Reading against the recent characterization of Pope's work as nostalgic, this piece takes issue with the corollary established by J.G.A. Pocock and others between financial change and linguistic uncertainty in the early eighteenth-century. It presents Pope as a skeptical thinker aware of the radical contingency of all human values, more in line with David Hume than earlier writers on money. It suggests that Pope'is imitative meter is an investigation of this contingency of value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-504
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in English Literature 1500-1900
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


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