The work remains, however, one of the best-known commentaries on literary criticism. Although the work treats literary criticism in particular and thus relies heavily upon ancient authors as type masters, Pope still extends this criticism to general judgment about all walks of life.
It is the source of numerous familiar epigrams known to the reading public. Pope was young when he wrote the work; existing evidence points to or as the probable period of composition. Pope wrote of its composition: I wrote the Essay on Criticism fast; for I had digested all the matter in prose, before I began upon it in verse.
True genius and judgment are innate gifts of heaven, as Pope says, but many people possess the seeds of taste and judgment that, with proper training, may flourish. The genius of the ancients cannot be imitated, but their principles may be.
The poem is structured in three parts: He remarks that as poets may be prejudiced about their own merits, so critics can be partial to their own judgment.
Nature is defined ambiguously as Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,One clear, unchanged, and universal light,Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,At once the source, and end, the test of Art.
Nature thus becomes a universal or cosmic force, an ideal sought by poet and critic alike in the general scheme, things universally approved throughout history by all persons.
The rules of literary criticism may best be located in those works that have stood the test of time and universal approbation, the works of antiquity.
From the ancient authors, critics have derived rules of art that are not self-imposed at the whim of the critic but are discovered justly operating in the writings of the best authors.
What was once a subordinate sister to creative art has replaced or turned against its superior, assuming a higher place in the order of things. Part 2 traces the causes hindering good judgment—that chief virtue of a true critic.
Pope advises critics to avoid the dangers of blindness caused by pride, the greatest source of poor judgment, by learning their own defects and by profiting even from the strictures of their enemies.
Inadequate learning is another reason a critic errs: It is the unity of the many small parts in one whole that affects readers: Finally, a critic who condemns The entire section is 1, words. Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your hour free trial to unlock this page An Essay on Criticism study guide and get instant access to the following:An Essay on Criticism was published when Pope was relatively young.
The work remains, however, one of the best-known commentaries on literary criticism. Although the work treats literary criticism. Essay on Poetic Theory. An Essay on Criticism.
By Alexander Pope. Introduction.
Alexander Pope, a translator, poet, wit, amateur landscape gardener, and satirist, was born in London in He contracted tuberculosis of the bone when he was young, which disfigured his spine and purportedly only allowed him to grow to 4 feet, 6 inches.
The Essay on Criticism is more profitably introduced by a topical summary of its themes than by an analysis of its premises. For its premises and aims are those of the entire neoclassic tradition.
For its premises and aims are those of the entire neoclassic tradition. An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (–). However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope's various literary opinions.
An Essay on Criticism was published when Pope was relatively young. The work remains, however, one of the best-known commentaries on literary criticism. The work remains, however, one of the best-known commentaries on literary criticism. An Essay on Criticism was famously and fiercely attacked by John Dennis, who is mentioned mockingly in the work.
Consequently, Dennis also appears in Pope's later satire, The Dunciad. Part II of An Essay on Criticism includes a famous couplet: A little learning .