Clayton D. Lein (essay date 1974)
SOURCE: “Boileau, the Moderns, and the Topinamboux,” in Papers on Language and Literature, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1974, pp. 21-34.
[In essay that follows, Lein examines two epigrams Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, an Ancient, directed against the Moderns, noting the “potency of the invective” Boileau employed.]
One of the most distinctive cleavages distinguishing contemporary poetic taste from that of earlier periods lies in our modern lack of appreciation for epigrams, and this dislocation in taste unfortunately conditions the direction of criticism and scholarship. The epigrams of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux supply a good case in point. They have stirred little...
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