Friday, November 18, 2005

A funny interview

with Johnny Depp about John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Usually I avoid costume dramas like the plague, but this one I think I must see. (Thanks to Bookslut for the link.)

I love Rochester's poems, and I also love teaching them: they are genuinely shocking in their obscenity and their dark humor, so it's the best possible way of making people realize that 1660-1800 is the single most exciting period of British literature. (All right, I'm joking, sort of,but I really do believe that, and it is my mission in life to convert a few others to my point of view.)

Is there better dirty poetry in English than Rochester's? I think not. I use his "Satire on Charles II" on the first day of my Restoration and eighteenth-century drama course (here's a link), and I've taught more of his poems in a seminar on satire. A Ramble in St. James's Park is one of my favorites, but please don't click on the link if you're squeamish; The Imperfect Enjoyment is rather more cheerful but still pretty extreme.

(Buy Rochester's poems here. Seriously, they're moving and brilliant and hilarious as well as dirty. If you don't know them already, this collection's well worth a look.)

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