Alexander Pope's Profile
Alexander Pope was born in London on May 21, 1688. His father Alexander Pope Senior who was a Roman Catholic by religion and his business was linen trading. His mother was Edith Pope who was from Yorkshire. Alexander was famous for his satirical verses and also was a critic, essayist and ranked among the greatest poet of Enlightenment. He attributes his early years spend at Binfield which was on the edge of Windsor Forest as his golden age and he wrote many poems in commemoration of those as well. As a boy he had very sweet temper and his looks were also sweet in great deal thus nicknamed as the little nightingale. But his physical defects were causing him to suffer heartless mockeries most of the time, but it didn’t deter him from being the embodiment of English Neoclassicism and a leading critic also.
Alexander Pope’s first major work was Pastorals published in May 1709, which made him famous instantly. An Essay on Criticism followed this book in May 1711 and was also received well. With this he developed a new genre of writing the heroic Couplet. In this book he attempted to critically refine and discover his own positions as a critic and poet. He came into contact of Tory writers, members of British Conservative Party, like John Arbuthnot, Thomas Parnell, Jonathan Swift and John Gay and formed Scriblerus Club which was a satirical club. It was named after the fictional scholar Martinus Scriblerus focusing to satire pedantry and ignorance. His next published book The Rape of the Lock, in 1712, was one of his most popular which depicted the quarrel in high society in a funny way. His major contribution to English literature was the translation of Iliad and Odyssey, originally written by Homer. His other famous works were Windsor Forest, Eloisa to Abelard, Elegy to the Memory of and Unfortunate Lady, The works of Shakespeare, Three hours after marriage, The Dunciad, Essay on Man, etc.
The book Essay on Man written in heroic couplets was a philosophical poem. In this poem he tried to assert the ways of God to man and viewed the world with an anthrocentric point. It was written with an assumption that men have deteriorated and should look for their own salvation. He finds everything divinely ordered even if life seemed to be muddled and confusing around the man. The poem affirmatively tries to establish faith.
Though his new genre of writing was also criticized by many, yet he is quoted frequently in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations like Shakespeare and Tennyson. He lived a life of poet of his own style and die on May 30, 1744 at the age of 56.
Quotes by Alexander Pope
A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. - Alexander Pope
A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits. - Alexander Pope
A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left. - Alexander Pope