Revisiting the ‘Essay on Woman’ Scandal | The John Wilkes Club

In 1757 he was elected Member of Parliament for Aylesbury. In 1762 he founded the weekly The North Briton, which was primarily used as a platform for attacking the government headed by Lord Bute and his successor George Grenville. In this venture he was assisted by his friend . Following the publication of the infamous Issue 45, Wilkes was arrested on April 30, 1763 charged with libel. He was released a week later as his arrest was found to be a breach of parliamentary privilege. In November, 1763, he was wounded in a duel with Secretary to the Treasury, Samuel Martin. In December 1763 he travelled to Paris, and on January 20, 1764 he was expelled from parliament. In February he was found guilty, in absentia, of seditious libel (for the North Briton) and of obscene and impious libel (for Essay on Woman, a parody on Pope which he had co-written with Thomas Potter years before, intended for a select group of friends).

Revisiting the ‘Essay on Woman’ Scandal

An Essay on Woman - Keith Blayney

Essay on Woman - Wilkes and Liberty - James Boswell .info

"An Essay on Woman" consists of 94 lines, divided into an invocation and three divisions. Much of it involves placing graphic erotic/sexual images in alternate lines of Pope's "Essay on Man"

An essay on woman (2000 edition) | Open Library

Example 1
Compare the start of Pope's "Essay on Man", EPISTLE I (II. 1-8):



to the relatively crude start of the Potter (Wilkes) "Essay on Woman" (II. 1-8):


An essay on woman by Wilkes, John, 2000, AMS Press edition, in English
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