Pope, Swift, and Women Writers
Despite Pope's satirical depictions and often contemptuous treatment of a whole range of what he called the "variegations" of the female sensibility, he clearly enjoyed the company of women and placed high value on female friendships during his life. And regardless of Swift's habitual lashing out at "fair-sexing" and at the fulsome gallantries with which women are condescendingly depicted in such periodicals as the Spectator and in amatory verse, and in spite of his insistence that women be treated intellectually and socially on a par with men, feminists find evidence, in such works as Gulliver's Travels and the "scatological" poems, of fierce and deep antagonisms that seem to defy rationalization. Indeed, the very language and phrasing that the two men employed when expressing their praise of women seem only to make things worse. According to their detractors, such expressions are sexist and deny possibility of an independent female identity.
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