Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted



First Advisor

Victor Hamm


When young Lord Petre stole a lock of Arabella Fermor's hair, the Fermors held it to be a rude transgression of courtly behaviour. Miss Fermor, though very young, was a renowned beauty, and it might not be helpful to her reputation it it got about that she passed out locks of her hair indiscriminately; therefore, a serious breach developed between the two families. Both were prominent in the Roman Catholic circle to which Alexander Pope belonged, so it was natural that it would come to his attention. He said of the affair: "A common acquaintance and well-wisher to both (John Caryll) desired me to write a poem and make a jest of it, and laugh them together again. It was with this view in mind that I wrote The Rape of the Lock; which was well received, and had its effect on the two families."