Title page for ETD etd-05012007-140022

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Wilmoth, Traci Carol
URN etd-05012007-140022
Title The Role of Richard Savage in Composing Pope's Dunciad
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Radcliffe, David Hill Committee Chair
Knapp, Shoshana Milgram Committee Member
Sullivan, Ernest II Committee Member
  • Alexander Pope
  • Richard Savage
  • Authors of the Town
  • An Author to be Lett
  • Grub street writers
  • Dunciad
Date of Defense 2007-04-13
Availability unrestricted
Murderer, bastard, spy: Richard Savage was no stranger to scandal and

controversy. And yet, for a man who lived such a varied life, little is known for certain

about him. There are rumors, suggestions, and accusations, but little that can be said

without debates and arguments. It certainly does not help that Savage is often

marginalized in eighteenth-century scholarship as scholars seek to discover and analyze

all they can about his more famous, and more upstanding, contemporaries. While

Savage's relationship with Johnson is well known and discussed frequently, all that is

known of his relationship with Pope is that he contributed information to Pope’s Dunciad

Variorum (1729) and that Pope later contributed large sums to Savage's support. Pope

was the driving force behind Savage’s retirement to Wales, possibly alluded to in

Johnson’s London (1738), as well as the chief financial contributor to this retirement

plan. No serious effort has been made to connect these two important episodes in

Savage's life, perhaps because no serious effort has been made to establish the extent of

his involvement with the Dunciad. It may have been this connection with Pope that drew

Johnson to Savage in the first place.

The intent of this thesis is to clarify the nature of Savage’s collaborations with

Pope and the extent of his contributions to the Dunciad Variorum of 1729. The Dunciad

seeks to make fun not only of Pope’s critics, but of writers who write for bread, the “hack

writers” of Grub Street. It was here that Pope would most likely turn to Savage for

information; Savage was much better acquainted with those writers than was Pope. But

Savage may have done more than simply supply Pope with gossip, and I will consider the

possibility that he had a more active role in the publication of the Dunciad Variorum.

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