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Notwithstanding such social and personal obstacles, Pope produced some of the finest verse ever written.His most renowned publications include several mock-heroic poems such as (1733–1734) was a scathing attack on human arrogance or pride in failing to observe the due limits of human reason, in questioning divine authority and seeking to be self-reliant on the basis of rationality and science.
, published anonymously by Alexander Pope (1688–1744) in 1711, is perhaps the clearest statement of neoclassical principles in any language.
In its broad outlines, it expresses a worldview which synthesizes elements of a Roman Catholic outlook with classical aesthetic principles and with deism.
In Pope expounds the “Great Chain of Being,” ranging from God and the angels through humans and the lower animals to plants and inanimate objects.
Nature can also refer to what is normal, central, and universal in human experience, encompassing the spheres of morality and knowledge, the rules of proper moral conduct as well as the archetypal patterns of human reason.
Even identifies the chief fault of humankind as the original sin of “pride” and espouses an ethic based on an ordered and hierarchical universe, it nonetheless depicts this order in terms of Newtonian mechanism and expresses a broadly deistic vision.
The same contradictions permeate the , which effects an eclectic mixture of a Roman Catholic vision premised on the (negative) significance of pride, a humanistic secularism perhaps influenced by Erasmus, a stylistic neoclassicism with roots in the rhetorical tradition from Aristotle, Horace, Longinus, and modern disciples such as Boileau, and a modernity in the wake of figures such as Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke.However, there are a number of precepts he advances as specific to criticism. The first is to recognize the overall unity of a work, and thereby to avoid falling into partial assessments based on the author’s use of poetic conceits, ornamented language, and meters, as well as those which are biased toward either archaic or modern styles or based on the reputations of given writers.Apart from knowing his own capacities, the critic must be conversant with every aspect of the author whom he is examining, including the author’s . Finally, a critic needs to possess a moral sensibility, as well as a sense of balance and proportion, as indicated in these lines: “Nor in the must ever join” (ll. In the interests of good nature and good sense, Pope urges the critic to adopt not only habits of self-criticism and integrity (“with pleasure own your Errors past, / And make each Day a on the last,” ll. To be truthful is not enough, he warns; truth must be accompanied by “Good Breeding” or else it will lose its effect (ll. And mere bookish knowledge will often express itself in showiness, disdain, and an overactive tongue: “on his Side? 631–642) As we read through this synthesis of the qualities of a good critic, it becomes clear that they are primarily attributes of humanity or moral sensibility rather than aesthetic qualities.15), and while he recognizes that some critics are failed poets (l. 120–123) Perhaps ironically, Pope’s advice here seems modern insofar as he calls for a knowledge of all aspects of the author’s work, including not only its subject matter and artistic lineage but also its religious, national, and intellectual contexts.105), he points out that both the best poetry and the best criticism are divinely inspired: Both must alike from Heav’n derive their Light, These that criticism itself is an art and must be governed by the same rules that apply to literature itself. He is less modern in insisting that the critic base his interpretation on the author’s intention: “In ev’ry Work regard the Writer’s ” (ll. Pope specifies two further guidelines for the critic.Given the numerous meanings accumulated in the word “nature” as it has passed through various traditions, Pope’s call for a “return to nature” is complex, and he exploits the multiple significance of the term to generate within his poem a comprehensive redefinition of it.Among other things, nature can refer, on a cosmic level, to the providential order of the world and the universe, an order which is hierarchical, in which each entity has its proper assigned place.Pope’s personal life was also afflicted by disease: he was a hunchback, only four and a half feet tall, and suffered from tuberculosis.He was in constant need of his maid to dress and care for him.Pope’s family, in fact, moved to a small farm in Windsor Forest, a neighbourhood occupied by other Catholic families of the gentry, and he later moved with his mother to Twickenham.However, Pope was privately taught and moved in an elite circle of London writers which included the dramatists Wycherley and Congreve, the poet Granville, the critic William Walsh, as well as the writers Addison and Steele, and the deistic politician Bolingbroke.