• Richard Beckman


Tracing the evolution of charm, Beckman notes that in Alexander Pope “charm” sounds modern, even as it casts its glow in a drawing room. In The Rape of the Lock (1712–1714), Belinda’s charms are travestied. She labors to be beautiful; even her smiles are rehearsed. Pope’s disapproval is made indirectly and with a light touch, saying only that the relentless pursuit of charm goes against nature.

First robed in white, the nymph intent adores,

With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers.

A heavenly image in the glass appears.

Charm, how to achieve it, is a joke, but Belinda’s charm does turn heads:

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,

Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.


Charm mocked and celebrated 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Beckman
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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