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mock-heroic


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Written in an ironically grand style that is comically incongruous with the ‘low’ or trivial subject treated. This adjective is commonly applied to mock epics, but serves also for works or parts of works using the same comic method in various forms other than that of the full‐scale mock‐epic poem: Swift's prose satire The Battle of the Books (1704) is an important case, as is Byron's intermittently mock‐heroic poem Don Juan (1819–24). Shorter satirical poems employing fewer epic conventions, such as Ben Jonson's ‘On the Famous Voyage’ (1616) and Dryden's MacFlecknoe (1682), are probably better described as mock‐heroic poems rather than mock epics, partly because they are not long enough to be divided into cantos. Theatrical burlesques of heroic drama, such as Henry Fielding's Tom Thumb (1730) are also referred to as mock‐heroic. See also heroic poetry, parody, satire. For a fuller account, consult Ulrich Broich, The Eighteenth‐Century Mock‐Heroic Poem (1990).

Subjects: Literature.


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