Pope’s Essay on Criticism


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Essay #: 056948
Total text length is 7,569 characters (approximately 5.2 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Pope’s Essay on Criticism
A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Pope’s Essay on Criticism is, of course, neither merely an essay, nor merely an exercise on criticism. It is at once a wonderfully didactic but pleasurable poem, swooping from historical to literary allusion, sampling the attitudes of antiquity and (Pope’s) modernity to topics ranging from nature to wit, and ultimately redefining the appreciation of poetry as an appreciation of life itself.
The lines chosen for analysis, which come at the beginning of Part 2, elide life, art, and criticism in ways that recall the great humanist...
The end:
.....y, in everything from our computer programs to our musical tastes, we are mashups; we gather and mix together all the data, stimuli, and knowledge we can gather, and concoct unique experiences. In this approach, we are not necessarily pioneers. Except for the brief formal dominance of Christianity over Western culture, it can be argued that heterodoxy has been the norm of human experience. It is this heterodoxy that Pope so eloquently defends in this excerpt in particular, and throughout the Essay on Criticism.
Magni, John. “The Decline of the Classics.” The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 20(1913): 23-44
Oliver, Mary. Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998