An Essay on Criticism – CIE Literature

 

alexander pope essay on criticism analysis

In the Essay on Criticism (), written in when he was hardly twenty-one, Pope was trying to write a poetical essay which would hold the same important place in English that Boileau's Art Poétique () was holding in French criticism. If it did not quite attain this position, the reason is not that Pope's essay is inferior to Boileau's. Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope: An Overview Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism is an ambitious work of art written in heroic couplet. Published in , this poetic essay was a venture to identify and define his own role as a poet and a critic. An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by the English writer Alexander Pope (–). 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.".


(from) An Essay on Criticism (by Alexander Pope) Analysis – AK


Our extract is the second stanza of the second of three parts of the poem. In it, Pope advises against rash judgement from critics and that they should persevere with poets even if they make mistakes or break the rules from time to time. He argues that without critics being open to new approaches and ideas they will stifle the rise of great poets of their age. However, if you look at this stanza alone, this message could be generalised beyond poetry and literature, alexander pope essay on criticism analysis.

This could be seen as a defence of innovation and progress in the world. A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts; While from the bounded level of our mind Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind, But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise New distant scenes of endless science rise!

Alexander Pope Analysis Click through the tabs below to explore my analysis of different aspects of the poem. Pope is one of those rare poets who was actually very successful thanks to his writing.

So with all that he had bugger all else to do, except become a kick ass poet. He came from a middle class family and was educated only up until he was 12, but dragged himself up as an intellectual by binging on the classics of the Greek and Roman world as well as the big names of the time.

From his early twenties his own work was being well received critically with his poetry and translations selling well. This poem was completed in when Pope was 21 and published two years later. As this represents the beginning of his poetic career, the focus on telling critics to go a bit easy may have been based on his own personal hopes. It certainly acts as a challenge to the old, established order and their rules by suggesting that they may have a negative impact on poetry.

This turns the idea that wisdom is associated with age on its head. He suggests that age can bring a degree of cynicism and rigidity in thinking, which can prevent the bright lights of innovation and change from emerging and challenging our ideas of beauty or brilliance, alexander pope essay on criticism analysis. The stanza opens with a analogy comparing literary critics to thirsty hikers.

However, Pope encourages them to drink deeper to appreciate to expand their horizons and alexander pope essay on criticism analysis brilliant innovation. In the fifth line we move onto focusing on young poets. Without this fear they try to achieve the heights, alexander pope essay on criticism analysis, which implies those governed by rules are also limited by them.

The critics on the other hand are bound by the rules and thus constricted from recognising innovative brilliance and achievement. From the eleventh line we examine the state of the critic. Having come to understand and recognise the majesty of Classical poetry, represented by the first mountain of the Alps, they become content and complacent.

They forget that their are many mountains to conquer and in our focus on appreciating the brilliance of the past, we fail to focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead for new achievement and majesty. Language and techniques. We begin with a belter. This immediately diminishes their education as it does not represent a significant chunk of what there is to be learned and thus they are not fully equipped to be absolute in terms of criticism and adherence alexander pope essay on criticism analysis poetic rules.

I think it would be fair to say that alexander pope essay on criticism analysis can generally quite rightly be labelled as snobs, but to in what way are they dangerous?

Contrast this censure of the critics with the romantic notion of the young poet. Pope encourages critics to avoid the temptation to become self-satisfied with their Classical knowledge and poetic comprehension. He suggests critics fixate on this achievement and rap it up in rules that become impediments to those who have to follow.

The poem is written in heroic couplets, which just means that each line is written in iambic pentameter. The association lifts poetry to being something of such magnitude and towering importance, alexander pope essay on criticism analysis, but also serves to demonstrate that there are many different peaks and many different ways of reaching them. Even the initial drinking from the spring can be interpreted directly as relating to mountaineering. Upon reaching new heights our minds are affected by the altitude and can sometimes symptoms can resemble being drunk.

However, drinking deeply is a way of trying to tackle this sickness. Pope also use alliteration quite frequently in the poem, particularly at the beginning of the stanza. You could also mention the double repetition in the final line, alexander pope essay on criticism analysis, which acts as a way of implying the endlessness of opportunity and poetic development.

Although this is somewhat critical of the critics, the tone is not one of brash anger or fire, but rather it is reasoned and serious. It is an argument that sets out why they should broaden their horizons rather than an instruction to bugger off.

The peaks of emotion in the poem are when describe the potential of those new to the alexander pope essay on criticism analysis, whose passion will hopefully inspire new heights of poetry. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content. Alexander Pope Click through the tabs below to explore my analysis of different aspects of the poem. Context Pope is one of those rare poets who was actually very successful thanks to his writing.

Themes This turns the idea that wisdom is associated with age on its head. Content The stanza opens with a analogy comparing literary critics to alexander pope essay on criticism analysis hikers.

Structure A few things to comment on here. Tone Although this is somewhat critical of the critics, the tone is not one of brash anger or fire, but rather it is reasoned and serious. Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Type here.

 

A criticism of 'Essay on Criticism' by Alexander Pope

 

alexander pope essay on criticism analysis

 

Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism () is a remarkable work of both poetry and habrnesq.tk attempts, in this very long poem, to examine neoclassical aesthetics in poetry. Pope argues that. Pope wrote “An Essay on Criticism” when he was 23; he was influenced by Quintillian, Aristotle, Horace’s Ars Poetica, and Nicolas Boileau’s L’Art Poëtique. Written in heroic couplets, the tone is straight-forward and conversational. Apr 24,  · 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 .