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Parodies of Ballad Criticism (1711-1787)   By: (1685-1725)

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Parodies of Ballad Criticism (1711-1787) by William Wagstaffe is a fascinating and insightful exploration of the ballad genre and its evolving criticism during the 18th century. With meticulous research and a keen eye for detail, Wagstaffe delves into the world of parody ballads and offers a comprehensive analysis of their reception and impact on the literary landscape of the time.

One of the noteworthy aspects of this book is the author's ability to analyze and contextualize the parodies within the broader framework of ballad criticism. Wagstaffe makes astute observations about the themes, styles, and techniques employed by the parodists, shedding light on their motivations and challenging conventional notions of authenticity and artistic merit. By doing so, he provokes further reflection on the nature of criticism itself and its role in shaping literary canons.

Wagstaffe's writing style is precise and well-structured, making the book an engaging read for both scholars and general readers. He masterfully combines historical anecdotes, satirical excerpts, and insightful commentary to create a coherent narrative that keeps the reader captivated from start to finish. Moreover, his inclusion of a wide range of parodies from renowned poets and satirists of the time adds depth and breadth to the discussion, highlighting the diverse approaches and perspectives within the genre.

The book is also commendable for its meticulous research. Wagstaffe's extensive use of primary sources, including ballads, pamphlets, and critical essays, paints a vivid and comprehensive picture of the cultural and intellectual milieu in which the parodies were created. This not only enhances the reader's understanding of the parodies themselves, but also provides valuable insights into the social and political context of 18th-century England.

However, it is worth noting that the book's narrow focus on parodies of ballad criticism may limit its appeal to a specific audience. Those with a keen interest in literary history and balladry will undoubtedly find this work invaluable, but casual readers may find the subject matter somewhat obscure or esoteric.

Overall, Parodies of Ballad Criticism (1711-1787) by William Wagstaffe is a meticulously researched and thought-provoking exploration of a niche aspect of 18th-century literature. Its rich analysis, engaging writing style, and comprehensive approach make it an indispensable resource for scholars and enthusiasts of the genre. By delving into the world of parodies, Wagstaffe sheds new light on the significance of criticism and invites readers to reconsider long-held notions about artistic authenticity and merit.

First Page:


Parodies of Ballad Criticism

(1711 1787)

William Wagstaffe, A Comment Upon the History of Tom Thumb , 1711

George Canning, The Knave of Hearts , 1787

Selected, with an Introduction, by William K. Wimsatt, Jr.

Publication Number 63

Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1957


RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan RALPH COHEN, University of California, Los Angeles VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL, Clark Memorial Library


W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan


EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, Duke University LOUIS BREDVOLD, University of Michigan JOHN BUTT, King's College, University of Durham JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST C. MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, University College, London H... Continue reading book >>

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