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What is "The Lady's Dressing Room" about, and what is Lady Montagu's response to it?

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mitchellec | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2011 at 2:17 PM via web

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What is "The Lady's Dressing Room" about, and what is Lady Montagu's response to it?

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 13, 2011 at 10:09 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Lady's Dressing Room" is a poem by Jonathan Swift. It describes an upper-class woman's room during the Romantic Period, and focuses on some areas of the room that are not pleasant or attractive. It compares a woman's process of getting ready to industry and agriculture, evoking the smells and sights of hard work, dung, etc. The poem is humorous and satirical. It points out how the process used to make women beautiful is actually not so beautiful!

Mary Wortley Montagu responded to the poem by writing "The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem call'd the Lady's Dressing room." In her poem, she implies that Swift had called a prostitute and found disastrous results, which then induced him to write his satire about women. The second link below goes into more detail on ths point.

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