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Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism: Summary & Analysis

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❶When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, The line too labors, and the words move slow; Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er the' unbending corn, and skims along the main. In the second part, Pope describes some of the ways that critics develop bad judgment, the chief of which is pride.

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Alexander Pope's
The Poem in Context
Alexander Pope and the Enlightenment

It is the source of the famous quotations "To err is human, to forgive divine," "A little learning is a dang'rous thing" frequently misquoted as "A little knowledge is a dang'rous thing" , and "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Composed in heroic couplets pairs of adjacent rhyming lines of iambic pentameter and written in the Horatian mode of satire, it is a verse essay primarily concerned with how writers and critics behave in the new literary commerce of Pope's contemporary age.

The poem covers a range of good criticism and advice, and represents many of the chief literary ideals of Pope's age. Pope contends in the poem's opening couplets that bad criticism does greater harm than bad writing:.

This is a testament to his belief that the "Imitation of the ancients" is the ultimate standard for taste. As is usual in Pope's poems, the Essay concludes with a reference to Pope himself. Walsh, the last of the critics mentioned, was a mentor and friend of Pope who had died in 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. This is in reference to the spring in the Pierian Mountains in Macedonia, sacred to the Muses.

The first line of this couplet is often misquoted as "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". The phrase " fools rush in where angels fear to tread " from Part III has become part of the popular lexicon, and has been used for and in various works. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Johnson, too, though he respected precedent, was above all a champion of moral sentiment….

This was An Essay on Criticism , published in Its brilliantly polished epigrams e. Early works exposition of prosodic theory In prosody: The 18th century use of end stop In end stop place in English literature In English literature: Pope literary criticism In literary criticism: Neoclassicism and its decline.

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Alexander Pope and the Enlightenment 'A little learning is a dang'rous thing,' Alexander Pope famously writes in his poem 'An Essay on Criticism.'The poem is one of the most quoted in the English.

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(An Essay on Criticism, ll. ) Basic set up: In this section of Pope's poem (yeah, it's a poem, but it's also an essay), he praises the ancient Roman poet Horace.

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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. Pope's "Essay on Criticism" is a didactic poem in heroic couplets, begun, perhaps, as early as , and published, anonymously, in The poetic essay was a relatively new genre, and the "Essay" itself was Pope's most ambitious work to that time.

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NOTES: An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope 1. Literary Criticism 2. 2 1. An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope Alexander Pope is a poet and translator from Latin to English. A. Pope was not very original, his thoughts are derived mainly from Dryden. In his essay we don’t find Latin words because he was a translator and he wanted to support English language. 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.