Pope An Essay On Criticism Analysis

Pope An Essay On Criticism Analysis-31
Pope also says, "True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learned to dance" (362–363), meaning poets are made, not born.As is usual in Pope's poems, the Essay concludes with a reference to Pope himself.

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All of his erring critics, each in their own way, betray the same fatal flaw.

The final section of the poem discusses the moral qualities and virtues inherent in the ideal critic, who is also the ideal man — and who, Pope laments, no longer exists in the degenerate world of the early eighteenth century.

The poetic essay was a relatively new genre, and the "Essay" itself was Pope's most ambitious work to that time.

It was in part an attempt on Pope's part to identify and refine his own positions as poet and critic, and his response to an ongoing critical debate which centered on the question of whether poetry should be "natural" or written according to predetermined "artificial" rules inherited from the classical past.

This essay by Pope is neoclassical in its premises; in the tradition of Horace and Boileau.

Pope believes that the value of literary work depends not on its being ancient or modern, but on its being true to Nature. Nature is to be found both in the matter and in the manner of expression, the two being inseparable.Consequently, Dennis also appears in Pope's later satire, The Dunciad.Part II of An Essay on Criticism includes a famous couplet: This is in reference to the spring in the Pierian Mountains in Macedonia, sacred to the Muses.He then provides, by way of example, instances of critics who had erred in one fashion or another.What, in Pope's opinion (here as elsewhere in his work) is the deadliest critical sin — a sin which is itself a reflection of a greater sin?Published in 1711, this poetic essay was a venture to identify and define his own role as a poet and a critic.He strongly puts his ideas on the ongoing question of if poetry should be natural or written as per the predetermined artificial rules set by the classical poets.Walsh, the last of the critics mentioned, was a mentor and friend of Pope who had died in 1708.An Essay on Criticism was famously and fiercely attacked by John Dennis, who is mentioned mockingly in the work.When the poet is asked to follow Nature, he is actually asked to “stick to the usual, the ordinary, and the commonplace.” He is to portray the world as he sees it.The truth of human nature is to be found in common humanity, not in any eccentricity. The proper object of imitation is the fundamental form of reality for Pope and the basic rule of art is to “follow nature” – “nature methodized.


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