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Compare the satire styles of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.

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Literary commentators have sometimes analyzed the differences in style between Pope and Swift by alluding to the Latin poets upon whom they modeled their work. Pope, we are often told, patterned his style after Horace, and Swift, after Juvenal. This observation implies that Pope's satire, like Horace's, is relatively light-hearted and gentle, while Swift's, like that of Juvenal, is much more acerbic and angry.

There is some truth in this, but unfortunately for most of us who do not read Latin (including myself), it's difficult to judge how close in style and technique the two English poets are to their ancient models. Before we talk about style per se, it's probably a good idea to look at the genres Pope and Swift used. Pope, except for the prose prefaces to some of his works, wrote exclusively poetry. Swift did write poetry, but almost all of it consists of occasional pieces and jeux d'esprit which do not represent him at his best. His major satires are in prose, the most important being the...

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