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Pope: An Essay On Man

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  365 ratings  ·  20 reviews
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
Kindle Edition, 163 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1734)
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Portrait of Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) by Jonathan Richardson, ca. 1736

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.

While reading Arthur O. Lovejoy's very interesting Essays in the History of Ideas I finally understood the intellectual context of Alexander Pope's famous philosophical poem, An Essay On Man. Perhaps best known as an author of satirical verses and a most engaging translation of the Iliad,(*) Pope also produced an edition of Shakespeare and venture
Pope’s Essay on Man, ironically enough, is not exactly an essay, and it’s not exactly on Man; It’s rather in verse, which might be considered as an attempt to reduce the considerable amount of yawning which happens during reading it, an attempt doomed to failure-at least by universal consensus. Also, Mr. Pope is not exactly laconic when it comes to matters concerning everything but man: from Universe to Society to Happiness to God. The latter, I guess, makes sense considering the special form of ...more
such a shapeshifting work of literature, at times I think, god Pope is just an idealistic show off and I;m really bored, but then he slips in a line or two that I really like, but I felt nothing reading this, probably because he wanted so hard to be such a witty guy that he put no actual humanity in it, almost like he dehumanized himself to talk about humanity, I dont think it worked.
Alexander Mackinnon
It is quite difficult to find a better description of man as a species than the one Pope gives in the Epistle II of his Essay on man. He nailed spot on forever. Regardless of how much we learn, how confident we are, how much we claim to trust science, we are never certain, there is always that nagging feeling in the back of our mind and Pope puts it magnificently
Pope. Pope is very interesting read, purely because of the history of his life, and he status in England when he wrote this 'Essay'. Essay on man cannot really be called an 'essay' it is a poem. But from Pope's perspective I guess we could say that Pope didn't see Essays as having very strict boundaries(I'd love to try and pass that one by on one of my professors). Even though the writing of 18th century England is something I have a love hate relationship with, this goes more on the Hate side o ...more
Lady Warly
Pope is one of the most important author & poet for his own time and also for us as an English literarture students. In his AN ESSAY ON MAN is about Nature which is the book of God and his criticism on the period of his time - 18th Century-.He deals with "Love,Religion,Society,Moral issues of humanbeing,Great Chain of Beings" etc. It is hard to understand for us as 21th century generation but the subject of this poem is valid,effectual and striking for all times. If you have any interest abo ...more
I cannot define it essay, it is a poem that I read in the Survey of English Literature class. Unlike other works by English writers, I could not enjoy the content. Even now I find it hard to follow the lines which seems to me unexpectedly monotonous. Still worths reading, at the earliest opportunity I will try to re-read it.
Inspired a very eager, very-much-disagreed-with presentation all about how Pope is not actually a deist. Don't propose such at a Catholic University, guys! (Though I remain firm in my convictions.)

The first and only piece of writing from my eighteenth century literature class wherein I highlighted like, every other line.
Picked this up throught for $.90. It has all the long poems--or at least all that I will ever need to read--and will replace a couple of bulkier volumes as I reduce the number of dust catchers on the shelves.

Currently (re)reading "Essay on Criticism" which has long been my favorite work by the little guy.
Merve  Özcan
1. ve 3. mektubu okudum. Hoca Love is the key dedi, gerisi yok.
Okudum, okumadın değil ama religion, nature ve Love gibi kelimeleri gördüm, sadece onları anladım. Hâlâ Pope neden bahsediyor tam kavramış değlim. Belki bir gün...
Skylar Burris
I'm still boweled over that the man could present a fairly cohesive philosphy on man and a theodicy in rhymed couplets. I don't know why I bothered to highlight, since I turned pretty much the whole thing yellow.
The poetry, the theology and the moral philosophy are all very elevated and sublime as is the humor and the wit. One of the most enjoyable things I have read all year!!!
Nissa Rachmidwiati
one idiom is enough to describe this beautiful poetic criticism : it hits the bull's eye! :)
Paige Duff
Only read it for school, kind of boring for me. If your into poetry it may be better for you.
My 1995 review: "I found the heroic couplets to be extremely monotonous."
Rob Roy
This essay is also in verse, and quite frankly, it gets in the way.
Mr. Pope is the Dr. Seuss of philosophy.
I feel as though the verse hurts the content.
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18th Century Enth...: Essay on Man by Alexander Pope 1 2 Oct 19, 2012 05:21AM  
  • The Vanity of Human Wishes
  • Maxims and Reflections
  • Representative Men: Seven Lectures
  • A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive: Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation
  • Milton's Comus
  • Ode to the West Wind
  • An Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonius
  • Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World
  • In Memoriam
  • Manfred: A Dramatic Poem
  • Introduction to Positive Philosophy. 1988 Paperback Reprint Ed Paperback
  • The Provincial Letters
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • The Geometry of René Descartes: with a Facsimile of the First Edition
  • The Constitution of the United States with the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation
  • Principles of Geology
  • Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House
Alexander Pope is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third most frequently quoted writer in the English language, after Shakespeare and Tennyson. Pope was a master of the heroic couplet.
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“Act well your part; there all the honour lies.” 128 likes
“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!”
More quotes…