Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism

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An Essay on Criticism

was first published, anonymously, on 15 May 1711. Pope began writing the poem, however, including drafting and revising it, some two or three years earlier when he was twenty or twenty one years old. It is, in several ways, a young man's poem, albeit an exceptional young man's: it is precocious in its learning; dazzling in the range and inventiveness of its imagery; injunctive in much of its syntax; and remarkably assured in the breadth of material it encompasses.

An Essay on Criticism is primarily didactic, conducted according to a broadly argumentative structure, although it contains more than a passing touch of Pope's burgeoning, satiric instinct. Pope described the poem, in a letter to his friend John Caryll, written on 19 July 1711, as “a treatise ... which

2192 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Essay on Criticism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

5312 Essay on Criticism 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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