An Essay on Criticism
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An Essay on Criticism

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  466 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Of All The Causes Which Conspire To Blind Man's Erring Judgment And Misguide The Mind, What The Weak Head With Strongest Bias Rules, Is Pride, The Never-failing Vice Of Fools. Whatever Nature Has In Worth Denied, She Gives In Large Recruits Of Needful Pride.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1711)
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Sometimes, I grow the silly delusion that I might have the potential to be a writer. As a curative, I read this, Lycidas, and Hours of Idleness; then I recall that not only am I not a writer, I am old.
Ahem. It's kind of awkward, trying to review a great poem about reviewing. I have to reread everything I type and examine it for Pope's fiercely lambasted Follies. I believe I shall confine my comments to this:

-This is as true now as it was 301 years ago, when it was published. (It both pleases and pains me to see that nothing has really changed since then. It's like moving to a new school--the names come and go, but the faces remain the same.)

-I wish we still wrote and talked like this. Why doe...more
Lane Wilkinson
how prescient was Pope?
did he foresee the heavy-handed and ultimately uninspired contemporary, po-mo approach to lit-crit?
indeed, Alexander Pope offers the most precise summation of post-modernism available:

"Such labored nothings
in so strange a style
amaze th' unlearned
and make the learned smile"
Mariam Okasha
I have studied one verse of this poem about ten years ago, and today I've managed to finish reading it completely.
I must say that It's not my most Favoured poem of Alexander Pope, For (Eloisa to Abelard) is much closer to my heart, I can't deny though that I was thrilled by being able to read it properly today.
Reading Pope is not just a pleasure of soul and senses, it's rather an opportunity to receive an appropriate drought of Pope's eternal "Pierian Spring'.
His ideas some how seem endless,...more
*For College*
Absolutely genius and interesting. I started by hating it because it's not something easy on the eye but once you let it in, it's really easy on the mind. A theorical text was never so interesting for me and I feel like after reading this, I learnt a lot more than in any other case.
And of course Alexander Pope would find a way to criticize and rhyme! Ever since I read 'Rape of the Lock,' Pope has been growing on me. Now I'm not sure if I'm a true fan, but I do admire his unique rhyming craft!
Alfonso Velez
One of my very favorites. He defines, despite objective opinion, the responsibilities and parameters of the critic by ruefully sublimating the task of a critic.
Skylar Burris
I love a man that can make good sense and aim beautiful barbs in perfect, rhymed couplets.
Ahmet Uçar
Oh Pope, he is such a wit, such a great poet. No wonder why he was the first upholder of a self-sufficient author next to a myriad of other reasons. There is no denying of his skills, and of the greatness of his mind.
I had made a presentation on an Essay on Criticism, and i have memorized many lines from it. Its quite a humorous piece. written in heroic couplets, and heroic style.
A must read, along with his longer and profounder Essay on Man
May 24, 2014 MiChAeLPaUl marked it as fini
Shelves: e-books, non-fiction
Good criticism is more constructive than the opposite when applied to artists honestly and conscientiously.
Despite it being a poem that Pope wrote when he was only in his twenties, I was not as impressed with this as I first thought I would be. Sure, it is interesting to see how Pope used the modern form of an essay to convey verse poetry of the ancient Greek/Roman style, but it just wasn't entertaining for me to read. It was more of a lesson on how to be a good poet or a good critic, and describing the ways of wit, nature, intelligence, etc. But overall, not a great piece. "The Rape of the Lock" by...more
Seth Holler
Wow! Read online with these editions: (brief annotations)

I'll pardon Mr Pope's anti-medieval prejudice.
It's more like I understand the essay so little. Oh well at least I've read it. Maybe one day I'll be able to understand it better

UPDATE: this study guide helps a little
When I saw the title, I literally thought it would be an essay on criticism. Then I uploaded it, found that it's actually literary criticism in poetry form, and I was like "SO COOL!"
Pope isn't always consistent in his ideas, but who cares? The man had an unrivaled mastery of the English language, and this essay coins a lot of sayings still in use today.
Rob Roy
The entire essay is in verse. His thoughts are that it made it more powerful. My thoughts are that it obscured his message
Douglas Mangum
A must-read for all who deal in literary criticism in its many forms--writers, critics, and dilettantes.
Vikas Lather
Talent of poetry is less understood by me , so I'm not a fit person to review literary quality of this book
Liz Wager
perfect for reading en route to the peer review congress!
Kathryn Lane
Mar 02, 2013 Kathryn Lane rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English Literature Students
Bit strange.
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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.
More about Alexander Pope...
The Rape of the Lock Essay on Man and Other Poems The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems An Essay on Man The Dunciad

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“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” 2100 likes
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” 1770 likes
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