-THE END-Alexander Pope's poem: An Essay on Criticism

Empson, William, “Wit in the Essay on Criticism,” in his The Structure of Complex Words, London: Hogarth Press, 1985; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989 (original edition, 1951)

Fenner, Arthur, “The Unity of Pope’s Essay on Criticism” Philological Quarterly 39 (1960):435–46

An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744). However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope’s various literary opinions. A reading of the poem makes it clear that he is addressing not so much the ingenuous reader as the intending writer. It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.


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Aden, John M., “‘First follow nature’: Strategy and Stratification in An Essay on Criticism,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 55 (1956):604–17