Ep. 12. Lady Mary v. Alexander Pope: Part I
05.10.2016 - By Inviolable Voices: Stories of Writers and Literature
Part 1 of 2 on the epic literary battle that took place between early-18th-cent English authors Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Alexander Pope. Pope was a Catholic during years when Catholics were treated horrendously in England and struggled all of his life with Potts' Disease, an illness that left him hunchbacked, sick almost every day of his life, and only 4'6". Improbably, he became the biggest author of his time. Lady Mary was a witty, spirited woman who was basically a real-life Elizabeth Bennet. Pope and Lady Mary went from being besties to bitter enemies over the course of 13 years. Pope went from writing infatuated love letters to Lady Mary to writing poems about her that accused her of being a sloppily dressed slut and a terrible poet. Lady Mary reciprocated, with poems that made fun of his Catholicism and disabilities. The next two episodes will explore the reasons these two fascinating people and fantastic authors fought in such a public, shameful way, reasons that tell us a lot about them and their time. This first episode covers the historical background for the blood feud and Lady Mary's fascinating life before Pope. She eloped to avoid marrying the horrible man her father had chosen for her, survived a bout of smallpox that left her scarred for life, and got in trouble over and over again because she was just too opinionated for her time.