May 14, 2007

The Rape of the Lock illustrated by Beardsley

Alexander Pope is a major writer from the 18teen english literature. Infant prodigy who writes poems since he is 12, student unseated from Oxford because of his catholic conversion, friend of Jonathan Swift et John Gay, famous for his translation of Homer, Pope is both a satirical and a romantic poet. Suffering since childhood from a form of tuberculosis which difforms his body, Alexander Pope, hot-tempered, pulls back quite soon from social life.
It is not a surprise that Aubrey Beardlsey, connected with Decadents and Symbolists, friend of Oscar Wilde of whom he illustrated Salomé, decided to work on The Rape of the Lock. In this mock-heroic poem in five cantos, Pope makes a parody of Helen of Troy, the story taking place in the Catholic aristocracy (the hero takes of a curl from his lady-love. This simple act generates a conflict between the two families. See the Complete Poem). The illustrations show the delicacy, sensuality and richness of Beardsley work. Tormented artist, also suffering of turberculosis, Beardsley dies officially from illness, and unofficially commits suicide at 26 years old, leaving a singular work, representative of the english Art nouveau.

Currently, The Librairie Loliée can show you :
  • [Beardsley] - Pope - The Rape of the Lock. Londres, Leonard Smithers, 1896, binding from the editor. Five original illustrations from Aubrey Beardsley.