Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society. Volume 27 (2015)
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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John Gay’s fables comprise an extended satire on the artifice of court life and of the hypocrisy and vanity of courtiers, an ironic perspective from a satirist whose own life was marked by the pursuit of court preferment and patronage. This essay explores the central themes of Gay’s fables and sets them within the context of his letters and earlier poems. His earliest efforts to achieve court preferment through panegyrical poetry lack consistency in high standards of poetic accomplishment; however, Gay’s two extraordinary sets of fables, rich in humour and satire in their varied explorations of the morality of courtiers and court life, succeed in spite of his antithetical impulses about court patronage.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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