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Voltaire called it "the most sublime didactic poem ever written in any language." Rousseau rhapsodized about its intellectual consolations. Kant recited long passages of it from memory during his lectures. And Adam Smith and David Hume drew inspiration from it in their writings. This was Alexander Pope's Essay on Man (1733-34), a masterpiece of philosophical poetry, one of the most important and controversial works of the Enlightenment, and one of the most widely read, imitated, and discussed poems of eighteenth-century Europe and America. This volume, which presents the first major new edition of the poem in more than fifty years, introduces this essential work to a new generation of readers, recapturing the excitement and illuminating the debates it provoked from the moment of its publication.Echoing Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost, Pope says his aim in An Essay on Man is to "vindicate the ways of God to man"--to explain the existence of evil and explore man's place in the universe. In a comprehensive introduction, Tom Jones describes the poem as an investigation of the fundamental question of how people should behave in a world they experience as chaotic, but which they suspect to be orderly from some higher point of view. The introduction provides a thorough discussion of the poem's attitudes, themes, composition, context, and reception, and reassesses the work's place in history. Extensive annotations to the text explain references and allusions.The result is the most accessible, informative, and reader-friendly edition of the poem in decades and an invaluable book for students and scholars of eighteenth-century literature and thought.
An Essay on Man is a poem published by Alexander Pope in 1733-1734. It is an effort to rationalize or rather "vindicate the ways of God to man" (l.16), a variation of John Milton's claim in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, that he will "justify the ways of God to men" (1.26). <P> <P> It is concerned with the natural order God has decreed for man. Because man cannot know God's purposes, he cannot complain about his position in the Great Chain of Being (ll.33-34) and must accept that "Whatever IS, is RIGHT" (l.292), a theme that was satirized by Voltaire in Candide (1759). More than any other work, it popularized optimistic philosophy throughout England and the rest of Europe.
Homer's classical Greek epic poem, as translated by Alexander Pope. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 6-8 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
This edition reprints the text of Pope's classic poem -- both the five-canto 1714 version and the facsimilie of the original 1712 version -- together with a broad selection of documents. Including correspondence, poems, broadsides, reviews, and parodies, the documents focus special attention on Pope's life and career as well as on eighteenth-century poetic traditions and innovations, social habits and assumptions, historical events, and political implications. A general introduction providing historical and cultural background, a chronology of Pope's life and times, an introduction to each thematic group of documents, headnotes, extensive annotations, a selected bibliography, and a generous collection of maps, portraits, and illustrations make this volume a unique scholarly edition of this classic work of eighteenth-century literature.
Pope's famous poem The Rape of the Lock, and his subsequent poem A Key to the Lock, written in response to critics of The Rape of the Lock.
Alexander Pope enjoyed in his lifetime a fame and fortune that few poets have received. Known for his brilliant epigrams, he was an uncompromising social critic and razor-sharp satirist of fashionable society's foibles. His poetry was characterized by a graceful mastery of the English language, a biting wit, and a moral alertness that ranged from contemptuous to compassionate to dryly humorous. Considered England's greatest living poet by the age of 25, Pope would be hailed by Lord Byron as "the greatest name in our Poetry. " Presented here in their entirety are several of Pope's principal works, including the delightful mock-epic, The Rape of the Lock, Windsor Forrest, Essay on Man, Eloïse to Abelard, Essay on Criticism, and his satirical masterpiece, The Dunciad. Together, they represent the writings of one of the Enlightenment's greatest poets. With notes and introduction by Martin Price, Christopher R. Miller