Share via Email Looking back to classical examples The whole poem runs to lines, but that shouldn't put you off! It's as readable as it was years ago, and highly pertinent to many burning literary issues — writers' prizes and who judges them, for instance. Pope wrote it inthe year his first work, four pastorals, appeared in print.
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.
He demonstrates that true genius and judgment are innate gifts of heaven; at the same time, he argues, many possess the seeds of these gifts, such that with proper training they can be developed.
His organization takes on a very simple structure: Nature provides everyone with some taste, which may in the end help the critic to judge properly.
Therefore, the first job of the critic is to know himself or herself, his or her own judgments, his or her own tastes and abilities. The second task of the critic is to know nature. Nature, to Pope, is a universal force, an ideal sought by critic and poet alike, an ideal that must be discovered by the critic through a careful balance of wit and judgment, of imaginative invention and deliberate reason.
The rules of literary criticism may best be located in those works that have stood the test of time and universal acceptance: Pope points out that, in times past, critics restricted themselves to discovering rules in classical literature, whereas in his contemporary scene critics are straying from such principles.
Moderns, he declares, seem to make their own rules, which are pedantic, unimaginative, and basely critical of literature.
Pope does admit that certain beauties of art cannot be learned by rules, intangible beauties that must be found in an individual way by true masters, but he goes on to warn readers that few moderns are able to acquire such tastes, especially those who exceed their grasp too quickly.
Part 2 traces the causes hindering good judgment. The reader is advised to avoid the dangers of blindness caused by pride by learning his or her own defects and by profiting even from the strictures of his or her enemies. Inadequate learning is another reason critics err; critics who look too closely at the parts of a poem may find themselves preferring a poem dull as a whole yet perfect in parts, to one imperfect in part but pleasing as a whole.
What Pope seeks is the unity of the many small parts into one whole, the latter being the more important. According to Pope, some critics err in loving parts only; others confine their attention to conceits, images, or metaphors. Still others praise style and language too highly without respect to content.
The true critic generally abides by rules of tolerance from extremes of fashion and personal taste. Pope advises that the true critic will not be a patron of a special interest group. He even admits that moderns may have a contribution to make, along with the ancients. Above all, critics should not err by being subjective.
The true critic must put aside personal motives and praise according to less personal criteria.
Finally, part 3 outlines the ideal character of a critic. It lists rules for manners and contrasts the ideal critic with the bad poet and the erring critic.
This part concludes with a brief summary of literary criticism and the character of the best critics. It is not enough for critics to know; they must also share the qualities of good people. Integrity stands at the top of the list of qualities of a good critic.
Modesty, tact, and courage are necessary for a true critic.
Pedantry and impertinence are not part of a critic with integrity. Aristotle, Horace, Dionysius, Quintilian, and Longinus. In closing the work, Pope reminds the reader that at the fall of Rome, most good criticism stopped.
Erasmus revived it in the early Renaissance and Nicolas Boileau of France advanced it more in Europe.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 . Literary Criticism of Alexander Pope By Nasrullah Mambrol on December 6, • (0) An Essay on Criticism, published anonymously by Alexander Pope (–) in , is perhaps the clearest statement of neoclassical principles in any language.
Home Literary Criticism Augustans Characteristics Neoclassicism Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism () 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.
Thematic Analysis. The Augustans' love for the classics is reflected in these lines. Here, Pope is waxing lyrical. 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. 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.
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.