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Sock Q. Puppet, Esq.

“The idea of a patron saint of sock-puppetry is more than a little incoherent (perhaps St Bernardino of Siena pretending to be St Francis de Sales?), but if the practice did want at least an honoured ancestor, then I’d propose some form of monument to Esdras Barnivelt. Esdras Barnivelt was writing in the period when reviewing, publicity and the widespread discussion of literature in broadsheets, newspapers and magazines was just emerging. He wrote a pamphlet called A Key To The Lock, subtitled “a Treatise proving, beyond all Contradiction, the dangerous Tendency of a late Poem entitled The Rape of the Lock to Government and Religion”, claiming that Pope’s witty mock-heroic was actually a coded allegory about the Barrier Treaty. The joke is, of course, that Esdras Barnivelt was actually Alexander Pope himself.”

The Guardian’s amusing take on the historical roots of sock-puppetry is, as Sue Townsend once charmingly said of a character, so posh as to be practically indecipherable.



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