Chronicling the heroic epistle in England : a study of its development and demise

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carolyn J. Kates (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
James E. Evans

Abstract: This first detailed study of the English heroic epistle provides an extensive definition for the genre. In order to define the term properly and arrive at an understanding of this genre, the focus of the first chapter will be on the source, the Heroides, twenty-one poetic love-letters by Ovid. Chapters two through eight trace the development of the genre in England. Chapter two discusses English translations before 1800, including Turbervile's, the first in 1567. John Dryden and company's translation of the Heroides in 1680 generated a parodic response, and the travesties written that same year are a turning point in the form's development. Many comic epistles followed, but some by poets such as Swift and Pope are not heroic epistles in the Ovidian sense, and I address this problem of the genre in Chapter three. Alongside this parodic tradition developed another group of poems inspired by Drayton's Englands Heroicall Epistles, which applies the heroic epistle to new, non-classical subject matter. Chapter four examines Drayton's collection of love-letters written between famous British historical personages, and Chapter five traces his legacy, which was carried on by Oldmixon, Rowe, Cawthorn and others through the eighteenth century.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1991
Epistolary poetry, English
Heroic verse, English

Email this document to