Aaron HillThe Muses' Projector, 1685-1750

Aaron HillThe Muses' Projector, 1685-1750

Christine Gerrard

Print publication date: 2010

ISBN: 9780198183884

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

During his lifetime Aaron Hill was one of the most lively cultural patrons and brokers on the London literary scene — an image hard to square with the company of undistinguished scribblers to which Pope relegated him in the Dunciad. This book aims to correct the distorted picture of the Augustan cultural scene which Pope passed down to posterity. Hill deliberately confronted Pope in his attempt to free poetry's sublime and visionary potential from the stale platitudes of neo-classical convention. An early champion of women poets, he also enjoyed close relationships with Eliza Haywood and Martha Fowke, and brought his three writing daughters Urania, Astrea, and Minerva into close contact with his lifelong friend the novelist Samuel Richardson. In 1711 Hill, as stage manager and librettist, introduced Handel to the English stage, as well as lobbying tirelessly for innovation in the 18th-century theatre. His entrepreneurial energies, directed at both commercial and cultural projects, mirror the zeitgeist of early Hanoverian Britain.