This mock-epic satire in the eighteenth-century manner is a comic burlesque upon the pretentious pedantry of literary criticism during much of A.D. Hope's lifetime. It was provoked by a contemporary critic's attack on the poetry of Alexander Pope. In his fable, Hope shows the Goddess Dullness urging the critic on to his attack, inspiring him by the promise of elevation to the Throne of Dunces.
Although they were both Royalty, Prince Nicholas from the Northern Province and Princess Jessica from the East couldn't have been more different: his distaste of the common folk and her distrust of the wealthy made them polar opposites. What could be worse than being told by their parents that they were to be married on Christmas Day? When…
Many leading critics make an appearance, among them David Daiches, F.R. Leavis and Northrop Frye. This polished, entertaining poem attacks the barren absurdities of Leavisite criticism under which literature is buried ever deeper, until finally 'one vast snore seals the eclipse of mind'.
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