Alexander Popes An Essay On Criticism

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was followed by “Eloisa to Abelard” (1717), which lyrically explored the 12th-century story of the passionate love of Heloïse d’Argenteuil and her teacher, the philosopher Peter Abelard.

As a public figure unafraid to express his opinions, Pope faced public criticism throughout his career.

He never grew taller than four and a half feet, was hunchbacked, and required daily care throughout adulthood.

His irascible nature and unpopularity in the press are often attributed to three factors: his membership in a religious minority, his physical infirmity, and his exclusion from formal education.

The acknowledged master of the heroic couplet and one of the primary tastemakers of the Augustan age, Alexander Pope was a central figure in the Neoclassical movement of the early 18th century.

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He was known for having perfected the rhymed couplet form of his idol, John Dryden, and turned it to satiric and philosophical purposes.However, Pope was bright, precocious, and determined and, by his teens, was writing accomplished verse. Publisher Jacob Tonson included Pope’s made him famous in wider circles.In the mid-1720s, Pope became associated with a group of Tory literati called the Scriblerus Club, which included John Gay, Jonathan Swift, John Arbuthnot, and Thomas Parnell.His mock epic (1733-34) articulate many of the central tenets of 18th-century aesthetic and moral philosophy.Pope was noted for his involvement in public feuds with the writers and publishers of low-end Grub Street, which led him to write (1728), a scathing account of England’s cultural decline, and, at the end of his life, a series of related verse essays and Horatian satires that articulated and protested this decline.Its four sections, or “epistles,” present an aesthetic and philosophical argument for the existence of order in the world, contending that we know the world to be unified because God created it.Thus, it is only our inferior vision that perceives disunity, and it is each man’s duty to strive for the good and the orderly.Based on an actual incident in 1711, when Robert Lord Petre (“The Baron”) publicly cut a lock of hair from the head of Arabella Fermor (“Belinda”), and said to have been written at the request of a friend to encourage a rapprochement between the families, the poem nimbly depicts the foibles of high society.At once light-hearted and serious, addressing both the flimsiness of social status and the repercussions of public behavior, the poem is an in-depth study of contemporary social mores and the reasons for their existence.He came to be seen as a philosopher and rhetorician rather than a poet, a view that persisted through the 19th and early 20th centuries.The rise of modernism, however, revived interest in pre-Romantic poetry, and Pope’s use of poetic form and irony made him of particular interest to the New Critics.


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