10 Chapter EightParatext as Metatext and Metafiction: Contextualizing Honest Satire in Thomas Bridges’ A Burlesque Translation of Homer

Angela Lei Parkinson

Geographically isolated, England was late in seeing the arrival of humanistic learning compared with developments in continental Europe. This delay was certainly true for the history of book-printing in England: it wasn’t until the early eighteenth century that a printing trade developed that was independent and large-scale enough to enable literate English citizens to fulfill needs for basic items like “bibles, prayer books and elementary classical texts” with domestic products.[1] Through a complex system of developments, the English book trade also made for a particularly vital market for satirical literature from the start. Writers whose work appealed to popular tastes and imaginations were among the first group of authors that could afford to live on book revenues. The volume examined in this chapter came to be in precisely this historical moment.

This single-volume, 1772 edition of Thomas Bridges’ bawdy A Burlesque Translation of Homer is the third out of a total of four editions that were published before the work went out of print at the turn of the nineteenth century.[2] Much neglected by both the critics of its day and contemporary scholarship, this work of satire can trace its genesis to the complex intersection of the burgeoning of a domestic English book-printing and book-selling industry, the whetting of English appetites for satirical literature in the Augustan period, as well as the ongoing trend of and debate over the rendering of Homeric works into the vernacular, particularly the lineage of translations of Homer into English at the hands of literary juggernauts like John Dryden and Alexander Pope. In fact, the author of this burlesque translation of the Iliad claims that it is Pope’s noble rendering of Homer’s epic into the English language that compelled him to take up the challenge of “putting [Homer] into English dress.”[3] In this short chapter, I will make the case that Bridges’ burlesque rendering of Homer, unjustly ignored by current scholarship, in fact constitutes an intriguing and retroactive example of “postmodern metafiction.” As such, this work is able to be seen as anticipating the feature contemporary literary theorists have identified in satirical texts that functions by employing imitation as “repetition with critical difference” through Bridges’ complex and subversive claim to perform an honest burlesque.[4] That is to say, Bridges claims his is a work that “express[es] Homer’s meaning [in] full” in such a way as to transcend Homer’s original Greek language because even Homer’s own words “perverted the original design of Homer’s Iliad.”[5] In order to make this case, I will begin with a definition of terms employed in this chapter, specifically the cluster of generic names for the various kinds of satires and translations at play when Bridges’ work was published, as well as the theoretical terms employed to discuss this work. Then, I will give a brief overview of the literary context of satirical literature into which Bridges’ burlesque was introduced. And finally, I will discuss how the paratextual materials in the front matter of Bridges’ 1772 edition functions as metatext, specifically as metafictional parody, via the declaration of authorial intent in the paratext.

Definition of Terms

Before delving in for a closer look at the tradition of English satire that leads to the volume in question in this essay, it is important to first clarify two groups of terms that will be used in the rest of our discussion: 1) the cluster of generic names that would largely fall under the modern categories of satire or parody, and 2) the theoretical terms of paratext versus metatext, and post-structural metafiction as a particular manifestation of metatext.

Satirical literature reached a high point in Augustan England and spawned a complex system of subgenres. Following Jonathan Swift’s contribution to la querelle des Anciens et des Modernes in 1704 in the prolegomena of his A Tale of a Tub, authors whose works were keenly aware of the tension between classical and contemporary learning flooded the English market with a wide range of works that variously made use of terms such as burlesque, imitation, translation, doggerel, mock-heroic/epic, parody, travestie/travesty, etc. Indeed, the volume in question in this chapter, titled A Burlesque Translation of Homer, was initially published under the title of Homer Travestie: Being a New Burlesque Translation of the First Four Books of theIliad” previously in four separate printings until it was abridged to the last version of its title.[6] The terms “travestie/travesty,” “burlesque,” and “translation” were apparently deemed to need no further explication or demarcation as the issue of generic definition is ignored by Thomas Bridges.

Likewise during this period, the generic names “imitation” and “translation” were used somewhat interchangeably with “[i]mitation as a species of translation,” since the contemporary author in both forms “modernize[s] his author and put[s] him into English dress.”[7] Bridges’ utilization of the term “burlesque” clearly falls into this camp. While scholars disagree regarding the precise differences between the literary genres of burlesque, travestie/travesty, mock-heroic pastiche, and the various forms that arise from the theory of free translation spearheaded by seventeenth-century British poets Abraham Cowley and John Denham, a connecting vein runs through them all: both popular and subversive, these works enable a more complete view of the socio-political context in which they were created when studied alongside their more high-brow counterparts.[8] Thus, compared with Pope’s mock-heroic The Rape of the Lock, which created a pastiche of elevated style and wildly trivial events, the particular case of Bridges’ work is more thoroughly subversive because he burlesques both the style and the events of the source of his imitation. Howard D. Weinbrot, an expert on eighteenth-century literature, points out that, “[s]ince Pope had not modernized Homer, the burlesque authors decided to do the job themselves.”[9]

As a discussion of the complex issues involved in the discernment of genres is beyond the scope of this short chapter, I will use the term by which Bridges has consistently chosen to refer to his own work: that of a burlesque translation. Further, I will broadly refer to the body of literature that includes both prose and verse writers such as Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson as satire. The ecosystem of satirical literature, to which I will also ascribe the various “lowbrow” translations and imitations of Homeric works, will form the backdrop against which Bridges’ burlesque is examined.

With regard to the theoretical terms employed in his chapter, the term “paratext” is defined as that which “directly accompan[ies] the text…” thereby constituting “the means by which a work is publically presented and… the site where the terms of the contract between work and reader are established.”[10] This is set against the term “metatext,” of which postmodern “metafiction” is a particular manifestation. Metatext, by definition, exists apart from the text itself and instead functions to “interpret a work.”[11] Metafiction, as a subgenre of metatext, is interpretive work that is “characterized by intense self-reflexivity and overtly parodic intertextuality.”[12] The paratext of Bridges’ volume is the front matter that comes before the reader encounters the actual burlesque rendering of Homer’s Iliad, including the preface (“Something by Way of Preface”) and a note to the reader (“The Publisher to the Reader”). This chapter will make the argument that, in this volume, the paratextual materials function as metafiction by taking a critically self-reflexive stance that is transformative of the original even as it claims to be an exact imitation. Even as he claims to be reaching the original intent of Homer, which is supposedly obscured not only by noble translators like Alexander Pope but also by Homer’s own Greek language, Bridges is placing a critical distance between his work and the background text being burlesqued all the while being acutely aware of the partial and biased nature of his own work. As such, Bridges is projecting his own limitations onto Homer’s words and proclaiming an honest burlesque—that is, a joke that is great enough to get to the truth of the matter of Homer’s great work—in a way that intriguingly anticipates current scholarship that identifies satirical texts that function by imitation as “repetition with critical difference.”[13]

Bridges’ Context in Augustan Satirical Literature

The complex ecosystem necessary to support a robust book trade with domestic products was slow to take root in England. The first Greek edition of Homer to be produced by the domestic English market did not occur until 1591, and the country remained heavily reliant upon imports from the rest of Europe all the way up to the turn of the seventeenth century.[14] The nascent English book market, however, nursed a healthy appetite for both noble classical works and so-called “lowbrow” satires from the start. The honor of being the first to render any Homeric works into English is claimed in 1581 by Arthur Hall, who produced a partial translation of the Iliad by working second-hand from the French version by Hugues Salel.[15] The attempt to write a burlesque of Homer in English followed soon after in 1664 under the title Homer à la Mode. Authored by James Scudamore, this translation included only the first and second books of the Iliad, and swiftly followed the first “straight” translation of Homer into English made directly from the Greek.[16]

An exemplar of such a straight translation of Homer’s Iliad is Alexander Pope’s noble attempt, which he began in 1715 as a serial subscription.[17] Writing in the preface to the first of his six-volume serial edition, Pope notes that “[i]t is a great loss to the poetical world that Mr. Dryden… left us only the first book, and a small part of the sixth… [H]ad he translated the whole work, I would no more have attempted Homer after him than Virgil…”[18] In the same preface, Pope also points out that

if [Dryden] has in some places not truly interpreted the sense, or preserved the antiquities, it ought to be excused on account of the haste he was obliged to write in. He seems to have had too much regard to Chapman, whose words he sometimes copies, and has unhappily followed him in passages where he wanders from the original.[19]

We might understand Pope’s commentary on Dryden here as the younger poet’s preemptive defense of his own attempt to surpass the inaccuracies of Dryden’s partial translation. Despite his criticism of Dryden’s inaccuracies and his own presumed efforts to do better, Pope and his wildly popular opus nevertheless became the target of Richard Bentley’s sharp and well-known jibe: “It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer.”[20] Pope himself, however, recognized the difficulties of his undertaking; he acknowledged in Homer “this poetical fire, this vivida vis animi” that burns “in Homer, and in him only… clearly [and] irresistibly,” but which also made the Greek almost impossible to adequately translate.[21] In his “Essay of Criticism,” Pope likewise acknowledges the elusive and inimitable element of any re-rendering of this Homeric fire:

In prospects, thus, some objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature’s common order rise…
But tho’ the ancients thus their rules invade,
(As kings dispense with laws themselves have made)
Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
Against the precept, ne’er transgress its end…
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream… (158-180)[22]

The date of the release of the first volume of Pope’s Iliad in 1715 coincided with Thomas Tooly’s publication, under the nom de plume Nickydemus Ninnyhammer, of a short travesty of the first three books of the Iliad called Homer in a Nut-Shell: Or, The Iliad of Homer in Immortal Doggerel. In this volume, the author facetiously states that, though he “had a Maggot come into [his] Head some time ago to Translate all Homer’s Works,” he instead “had the Pleasure of being Mortified, by finding the Iliad so incomparably done by Mr. Pope.”[23] He would not go on to complete more of this present effort, he adds, because he “would not therefore be thought to endeavor to prejudice Mr. Pope.”[24] On the title page, Tooly adds a line from Horace’s Ars Poetica: “Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere, fidus/ Interpres.”[25] This can be interpreted either as an honest expression of the translator’s intention to faithfully convey the sense of Homer’s epic as Tooly understood it, or as a tongue-in-cheek excusal of his own admittedly doggerel verse. This move will be one that is replicated by Bridges when he publishes his burlesque rendition of the Iliad.

It is in this context that one must locate this 1772 edition of the burlesque translation of the first twelve books of the Iliad. The popularity of Bridges’ work can be seen from the increased quality of the two more editions that came to be published after this volume, including a fourth “improved” edition that was expanded into a two-volume, octavo set—a sign of the edition being aimed at more popular ownership—in addition to featuring twenty-four added illustrations by copper-engraved plates and gilt edges. After the publication of the fourth edition of this work, the burlesque seems to have become somewhat censored, though never banned outright. Bridges himself likewise faded into obscurity thereafter. Beyond a relatively unknown novel that he also produced, the single most interesting biographical detail available to us about Bridges is from a list of “suppressed books” from 1873, which pointed out that his work is “full of humour… but… often transgresses the bounds of decency. For writing it the author was disinherited by his father.”[26]

Modern scholarship has continued to largely ignore Bridges’ popular burlesque work. Beyond being noted for its shock value, there is little mention of it even during the spurt of attention paid to Augustan satirical literature as a genre in the academy during the early part of the twentieth century.[27]

Paratext as Metatext: Bridges’ Claim of Authorial Intent

Thus, this particular satirical text is by no means an outlier in the trajectory of the spread of Homer into the English reader’s canon. Indeed, like Tooly’s doggerel translation, Bridges also invokes the popularity and eminence of the Pope translation as his inspiration. Bridges’ representation of his authorial intent as a translator locates this work squarely within the growing English book-printing and book-selling industry. This work is also part of the ongoing trend of the rendering of Homeric works into the vernacular, as well the particular lineage of simultaneously high- and lowbrow translations of Homer into English. Indeed, as I have demonstrated above, Pope is hardly the naïve reader of the classics who believed an exact translation of Homer’s “fire” to be possible, let alone desirable. It seems to me that the author of the vastly popular and enormously complex The Rape of the Lock would hardly begrudge another the employment of satire for laughs or the demonstration of the ridicule just under the surface of nobility. Instead, I would propose that Pope’s complex and thoughtful stance toward the Homeric tradition is one that Bridges would inherit when he employs the paratext of his volume as metatext.

And so, having located Bridges’ work squarely within the body of English satire, particularly the burlesquing of classical texts that takes Homer as inspiration, we are now positioned to examine the most theoretically interesting aspect of Bridges’ burlesque: that of the multiple layers of authorial and linguistic determination of how the reader is to orient the whole work. These layers pile up in the paratextual materials that include both the preface and the note to the reader until the reader is unsure whether to take the comic-serious anonymous translator seriously.

As mentioned above, despite the fact that recent scholarship concedes that Bridges’ work was indeed “widely popular,” the text itself has largely been passed over by current academics.[28] One of the few pieces that does mention the burlesque translation only goes so far as to note that it was allowed to go out of print for a hundred years because it “included so much vulgarity… [that] only with serious revisions could keep it within the bounds of Victorian decency.”[29] In 1995, Fritz Senn makes the noncommittal comment that Bridges’ translation is one that “sets his own efforts apart from the standard eighteenth-century Iliad” even though its “tasteless[ness]… is not unprecedented at all.”[30] While the 1995 essay rightly points out the section titled “The Publisher to the Reader” as being especially interesting and what makes this piece potentially outstanding, the author stops at pointing out that “the butt of the satire is Alexander Pope’s elevated system [the nobility of his verse] as well as the general awe of the refined classics.”[31]

I would argue, however, that though the front matter of this 1772 edition both seem to bolster the straightforward interpretation of Bridges as skewering Pope’s translation for being pretentious, the paratextual stance is much more complex. In the section titled “Something By Way of Preface,” Bridges’ writes that:

Pope, we all know, to please the nation,
Published an elegant translation,
But for all that, his lines mayn’t please
The jocund tribe as much as these;
For all capacities can’t climb,
To comprehend the true sublime;
And he that’s reading now may be
Almost a dull a dog as me.
Pope, that fly urchin of a loon,
Could ride the clouds and snuff the moon
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .   .  .  .  .  .  .

But I, a common mortal wight,
Who never yet could raise my flight,
Above a pamphlet-seller’s shop,
Or chance to reach his chimney top,
Must in plain English be content,
To tell you what Homer meant,
Nor aim a language much to fine,
For your capacities and mine;
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .   .  .  .  .  .  .

My works are for the laughing tribe,
And I expect they’ll all subscribe;
Those these brisk souls I mean to shew,
That… they did in Homer’s day pursue,
And what we sinners practice now.[32]

From this passage, the case can be made that Bridges is mocking Pope for being pompous in thinking that he can soar to the heights of classical greatness by calling him a “loon.” The case, I believe, is more complex. While the entire work is admittedly written for laughs, the overtly serious tone of the note “Publisher to the Reader” adds another layer of ambiguity.

Whereas the paratext is that which “directly accompan[ies] the text…” thereby constituting “the means by which a work is publically presented and… the site where the terms of the contract between work and reader are established,” metatext, by definition, exists apart from the text itself and instead functions to “interpret a work.”[33] That the paratext of Bridges’ burlesque translation also functions as a metatext is clear from the note presented as being from the publisher to the reader:

Our author [Bridges] is of the opinion that the dignity of the Greek language has perverted the original design of Homers’ Iliad; and that the elegant translation of Mr. Pope has now fix’d it a serious heroic poem for ever; but he is certain, Homer’s intent was to burlesque both his Gods, Godesses [sic], and heroes. A literal translation of their speeches plainly shews [sic], that they called one another rogue, rascal, and son of a bitch, very cordially; and the Goddesses talk’d pretty much in the style of our Covent-garden goddesses[34]: so that he is humbly of opinion, with all due submission to the imitable language and fire of Mr. Pope, that this burlesque will express Homer’s meaning in full as well as his excellent translation.[35]

Thus, this paratextual material is functioning as a metatext since it is interpreting for the reader the value of Pope’s translation. While is it certainly true that this note to the reader corroborates Bridges’ claims in the preface that he seems to derive the responsibility for undertaking his work from Pope’s work, which had won fame some four decades earlier, it is not at all clear from the combined consideration of the preface and the publisher’s note that the intention of this burlesque is to deride Pope himself or the value of his rendering of Homer. Bridges does assert that he is improving upon the Pope translation’s claim upon the unified correspondence between the meaning of the Homeric text as rendered into English and the intention of the original author. This claim can stand, of course, if the validity of a translation is judged by the union between the “truth” of authorial intent and the “honesty” of any translation, which is itself no settled matter. Following the conventions of his time, Pope the author prides himself on his originality even as he also claims to carry on the torch of antiquity. We can at least propose that originality and invention are not virtues that Pope the translator would loudly proclaim.

Indeed, Bridges’ posturing of his hilarity as being profoundly honest—that is to say, that his words are expressing the true intent of Homer the man even before it has been befuddled by his own linguistic limitations—is a profoundly theoretically interesting one. In fact, his is a posture of “metafictional parody as a technique that focuses on inherent limitations of past forms of writing.” [36] These inherent limitations are in turn transcended by the claims of the burlesque verse to reach beyond the layers of human and linguistic limitations to reach the supposedly eternal and stable “original design of Homer’s Iliad.”[37] Here, I would venture to retroactively drape the figure of Bridges the translator as presented in the paratextual front matter of the burlesque translation with the cloak of postmodernism, as an intriguing example of what Linda Hutcheon has called “historiographic metafiction.”[38]

Several questions arise from this reading of the metatext of the posture of the translation’s honest hilarity. First, with a poststructural understanding of the very act of “imitation [as] produc[ing] the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself” and the effect thus becoming, in a way, more real than the original-as-effect, one can certainly make the case for interpreting Bridges’ text as a candidate for this kind of metafictional imitation.[39] This comparison is apt because the burlesque text is not only purporting to “merely” imitate, but to reveal some kind of truth that is more fundamental even than the original text itself—that is, truer than truth!

Despite Bridges’ protestations of faithfulness, he adds entire segments of descriptions that are designed to burlesque and embarrass the gods and goddess,[40] as well as elements of jarring fantasy (goddesses riding on broomsticks)[41] and anachronisms both temporal and cultural (Apollo tunes King David’s harp),[42] in addition to identifying features that transpose the events of the poem to a very particular location in his England. Of the last feature, there are three specific kinds of additions: localities, contemporary activities, and contemporary usage in English and Cockney. Bridges repeatedly invokes, for example, Billingsgate, a ward of London that housed a famous historical fish market, as the location of the events, and has the Greeks and the Trojans sharing Chryses’ bribe of “Yarmouth herrings,” the smoked fish otherwise known as “Billingsgate pheasant.”[43] While this chapter has focused on the paratext of Bridges’ burlesque Iliad and how it functions as metatext, the features identified in this current paragraph further opens up the potential of reading Bridges’ work as a whole as metafiction because it makes use of the form of imitation to perform a transformative and transgressive discourse on events contemporary to the eighteenth-century satire writer.


In conclusion, Thomas Bridges’ A Burlesque Translation of Homer is a work that has been unjustly ignored by current scholarship. By situating this satirical translation in the historical context of translation into English broadly and in the repertoire of Augustan satirical literature, specifically burlesques of Homer, this essay provides a lacking context against which scholars can now begin to fully flesh out the implications of this work, both historical and theoretical. This chapter has taken up the task of delving into its theoretical implications by characterizing the paratextual materials in the front matter of the book as metatext and, more specifically, historiographical metafiction. As such an example, Bridges’ work can be interpreted as an intriguing phenomenon that anticipates the development of the concept of historiographical metafiction in twentieth-century literary theory.



Keywords: ambiguity, anachronism, Richard Bentley, Bible, book trade, subscription, Thomas Bridges, canon, censorship, George Chapman, University of Chicago, Abraham Cowley, John Denham, John Dryden, England, London, French, genre, epic genre, parody, satire, Greek, Arthur Hall, historiography, Horace, Linda Hutcheon, illustration, imitation, interpretation, Samuel Johnson, Latin, paratext, commentary, prefatory material, philology, Alexander Pope, Hugues Salel, James Scudamore, Fritz Senn, Spain, Spanish, Jonathan Swift, Thomas Tooly, vernacular, Virgil, Howard D. Weinbrot


Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Hertfordshire, UK: Wordsworth Editions, 2001.

Bridges, Thomas. A Burlesque Translation of Homer. London: Ludgate-Hill, Printed for S. Hooper, 1772.

Butler, Judith. “Imitation as Gender Insubordination.” In Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, edited by Diana Fuss, 13–31. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Cohen, Ralph. “The Augustan Mode in English Poetry.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 1, no. 1 (1967): 3–32.

Cummings, Robert, and Stuart Gillespie. “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics, 1550–1700: A Revised Bibliography.” Translation and Literature 18, no. 1 (2009): 1–42.

Feather, John. “The British Book Market, 1600–1800.” In A Companion to the History of the Book, edited by Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, 232­–46. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.

Fricke, Donna G. “An End To Writing About Swift?” The Journal of General Education 34, no. 1 (1982): 35–43.

Gillespie, Stuart. “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics, Part 2: 1701–1800: A Revised Bibliography.” Translation and Literature 18, no. 2 (2009): 181–224.

Holder, R. W. “Covent Garden.” In Oxford Dictionary of Euphemisms, by R. W. Holder, 139. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2008.

Hutcheon, Linda. “Historiographic Metafiction: Parody and the Intertextuality of History.” In Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction, edited by Patrick O’Donnell and Robert Con Davis, 3–32. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

—. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Leavitt, Sturgis E. “Paul Scarron and English Travesty.” Studies in Philology 16, no. 1 (1919): 108–20.

McKitterick, David. Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450–1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Pope, Alexander. Essay on Criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

—, ed. and trans. The Iliad of Homer. New York: Cassell and Company, 1909.

Santana, Mario. Foreigners in the Homeland: The Spanish American New Novel in Spain, 1962–1974. Branbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2000.

Senn, Fritz. “A Note on Burlesque Bloom.” James Joyce Quarterly 32, no. 3/4 (1995): 728–36.

Staels, Hilde. “The Penelopiad and Weight: Contemporary Parodic and Burlesque Transformations of Classical Myths.” College Literature 36, no. 4 (2009): 100–118.

“Suppressed Books.” Pro & Con, A Journal for Literary Investigation, 1 (1873): 159–60.

Tooly, Thomas. Homer in a Nut-Shell: Or, The Iliad of Homer in Immortal Doggerel. London: W. Sparkes, 1715.

Weinbrot, Howard D. “Translation and Parody: Towards the Genealogy of the Augustan Imitation.” ELH 33, no. 4 (1966): 434–47.

Young, Philip H. The Printed Homer: A 3,000 Year Publishing and Translation History of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003.

  1. David McKitterick, Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450–1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 187–88.
  2. Bridges’ burlesque translation was initially published in 1762, to which was then added a second volume in 1765 that expanded the text to include the first ten books of the Iliad. A second edition that grew to include the first 12 books of the Homeric epic—all that will be published of Bridges’ translation—was again published in two volumes in 1767, of which the University of Chicago Library Special Collections also maintains a complete set. The third edition, published in 1771 in a collected two-volume set, was gathered into the single-volume edition considered in this essay, published in 1772. The translation saw another print-run in the single-volume edition in 1774 before it was published a final time, going out of print with a two-volume, fourth edition set that came out in 1797. See Stuart Gillespie, “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics, Part 2: 1701–1800: A Revised Bibliography,” Translation and Literature 18, no. 2 (2009): 195.
  3. Howard D. Weinbrot, “Translation and Parody: Towards the Genealogy of the Augustan Imitation,” ELH 33, no. 4 (1966): 447.
  4. Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 32.
  5. Thomas Bridges, A Burlesque translation of Homer (London: Ludgate-Hill, Printed for S. Hooper, 1772), 3.
  6. Gillespie, “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics,” 195.
  7. Weinbrot, “Translation and Parody,” 434, 447.
  8. An early twentieth-century scholar defines burlesque thus: “burlesque [covers] too wide a scope, covering as it does parody, caricature, extravaganza, the mock-heroic and travesty… [T]ravesty [is] that type of humorous composition which has a model constantly in mind, retains its characters and much of its subject matter, and systematically ridicules both. In retaining both subject matter and the characters of its model, it differs from the mock-heroic and parody; it is more ambitious than caricature, and more restrained than extravaganza.” Sturgis E. Leavitt, “Paul Scarron and English Travesty,” Studies in Philology 16, no. 1 (1919): 108n1. Bridges’ translation uses, as mentioned above, the terms “burlesque” and “travestie/travesty” interchangeably.
  9. Weinbrot, “Translation and Parody,” 441–2.
  10. Mario Santana, Foreigners in the Homeland: the Spanish American New Novel in Spain, 1962–1974 (Branbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2000), 65.
  11. Ibid., 67.
  12. Linda Hutcheon, “Historiographic Metafiction,” in Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction, ed. Patrick O’Donnell and Robert Con Davis (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), 3.
  13. Hutcheon, Theory of Parody, 32.
  14. Philip H. Young, The Printed Homer: A 3,000 Year Publishing and Translation History of the Iliad and the Odyssey (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003), 97; John Feather, “The British Book Market, 1600–1800,” in A Companion to the History of the Book, ed. Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007): 232–33.
  15. Robert Cummings, and Stuart Gillespie, “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics, 1550–1700: A Revised Bibliography,” Translation and Literature 18, no. 1 (2009): 18.
  16. George Chapman published the first seven books of the Iliad in 1598 and subsequently the completed work in the first decade of the seventeenth century. Chapman’s work, copies of which also reside in the University Chicago’s collection, is discussed by two other chapters in this volume.
  17. Cummings and Gillespie, “Translations from Greek and Latin Classics,” 18.
  18. Alexander Pope, ed. and trans., The Iliad of Homer (New York: Cassell and Company, 1909), 30.
  19. Ibid., 30.
  20. Young, Printed Homer, 116.
  21. Pope, Iliad of Homer, 14.
  22. Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 66.
  23. Thomas Tooly, Homer in a Nut-Shell: Or, The Iliad of Homer in Immortal Doggerel (London: W. Sparkes, 1715), xxii–xxiii.
  24. Ibid., xxiii.
  25. Ibid., xxiii.
  26. “Suppressed Books,” Pro & Con, A Journal for Literary Investigation 1 (1873): 159.
  27. See, for example, the series of publications on the topic by Howard D. Weinbrot, including the one already cited in this chapter; Donna G. Fricke, “An End To Writing About Swift?” The Journal of General Education (1982): 35–43; Ralph Cohen, “The Augustan Mode in English Poetry,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 1, no. 1 (1967): 3–32.
  28. Young, Printed Homer, 120.
  29. Ibid., 121.
  30. Fritz Senn, “A Note on Burlesque Bloom,” James Joyce Quarterly 32, no. 3/4 (1995): 729.
  31. Ibid., 729.
  32. Bridges, Burlesque Translation of Homer, 1–2.
  33. Santana, Foreigners in the Homeland, 65, 67.
  34. “Covent-garden goddesses” is seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English slang for prostitutes as the London district of Covent Garden was a well-known red-light district. See R. W. Holder, "Covent Garden," in Oxford Dictionary of Euphemisms, by R. W. Holder (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2008), 139.
  35. Bridges, Burlesque Translation of Homer, 3.
  36. Hilde Staels, “The Penelopiad and Weight: Contemporary Parodic and Burlesque Transformations Of Classical Myths,” College Literature 36, no. 4 (2009): 101.
  37. Bridges, Burlesque Translation of Homer, 3.
  38. Hutcheon, “Historiographic Metafiction,” 3–32.
  39. Judith Butler, “Imitation as Gender Insubordination,” in Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, ed. Diana Fuss (New York: Routledge, 1991), 21.
  40. See, for example, an entirely invented description of Hera by Bridges near the end of Book I, after she has been harshly rebuked by Zeus:                  Juno, whose face, to own the matter,Was round and flat, just like a platter,With three holes in’t for eyes and nose,And a long nick which did composeA mouth that reach’d from ear to ear,From which her voice came fine and clear . . . .                                    (Bridges, Burlesque Translation of Homer, 43)
  41. Ibid., 21.
  42. Ibid., 46.                
  43. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 2001), 135.


Homer Among the Moderns Copyright © by Angela Lei Parkinson. All Rights Reserved.

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