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Selected Poetry

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Though critical opinion on Alexander Pope has frequently been divided, he is now regarded as the most important poet of the early eighteenth century. An invalid from infancy, he devoted his energies towards literature and achieved remarkable success with his first published work at the age of twenty-one. A succession of brilliant poems followed, including An Essay on Criti ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published December 15th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 1st 1954)
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3.56  · 
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 ·  239 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the density of this poetry and I dig a lot of his critiques. I like when I see Milton peeking through. And I especially like how important Pope makes the role of the critic. But I have the hardest time knowing what the hell is going on, for like the first five stanzas or so. Where are we? Who the hell are you talking to? Too much ceremony, apostrophe? I don't know. And I read for a living.
Jacob Aitken
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beauty

Pope ranks third behind Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible when it comes to familiar lines in our language. This addition of Pope, while not having all of his poems (it lacks the Essay on Man), does have several masterpieces, notably Essay on Criticism and the Rape of the Lock.

Rape of the Lock

This is very near to the perfect piece of poetry. Indeed, what glory could have come by writing a true piece of heroic poetry in this style?! C. S. Lewis once said that reading Spenser is
Emma Wallace
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
Pope is irrefutably an intellectual poet and commands his verse form, rhyme scheme and metrical rhythm with arresting ease; I especially loved his peppered inclusion of classical allusions and imagery which added much to his satirising of contemporary sophistication and decorum. Although his most renowned poem now The Rape of the Lock actually pales for me in comparison with both his Dunciad and my personal favourite Eloisa to Abelard. While not his forte I think Pope's rhyming couplets so perfe ...more
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whisp'ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of sera
Anna Luce
Pope...what to say...

In his 'An Essay on Criticism' Pope transpires his dislike for 'excessiveness' in poetry, stating that good poetry should be 'understated', he then outlines a standard of what 'is' good taste by using an authoritative tone that condemns his peers while also putting himself into a superior position. And yet, his poems are convoluted and far from 'understated'. He does not really demonstrate any of the skills – of his so admired – classical authors whose work cleverly show wit
Markus Whittaker
Rhyming couplets shit me to tears. The stilted nature of much of Pope's poetry, the forced rhyme, the incessantly repetitive metre - it lack imagination by todays standards. But one can't judge these works by todays standards, Pope was clever, sublime, and incredibly perceptive for his time. There are some eloquent phrases, and some eloquent verses. Not my cup of tea, but I am a big believer in trying everything once.

The notations and footnoting were a bloody shambles as well.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: university, read-2015
I'm not a fan of poetry but I have to read this for university so I decided to suck it up and have a go. The Rape Of The Lock and Eloisa and Abelard were brilliant, but honestly I didn't really understand the rest. A lot of Pope's poems satirise prominent members of the time so most of the references went completely over my head. But I'm actually looking forward to studying it to actually understand the poems and maybe even enjoy them a lot more.
I like Pope well enough, but I have a special fondness for him for one odd reason - a former mentor of mine, Dr. Suter, read some of my poetry and wrote to some of her colleages about how much my verse adaptations of ancient poetry resembled Pope. I've never forgotten the compliment.
Rachel Brand
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: en1004, own, 2010, poetry
Read for:
EN1004: Explorers and Revolutionaries - Literature 1680-1830

Technically I only read "The Rape of the Lock." It was interesting enough, after I went to the lectures and understood it better, but it's difficult to grasp if you don't know much about the texts he's parodying. 7/10
Michael Arnold
Aug 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love Pope, but I think that there will be a better selection of his poems out there. This is more like a taster, or an introduction to him I think. It even feels incomplete - somehow.
Would love him if not for the rhyming couplets. They get irritating after about four lines (I'm not exaggerating)
M.I. Lastman
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Shakespeare, Pope is surely the most influential writer in the English language, he is also the funniest.
James Schwartz
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic! There are not many poets "above" Pope!
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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.
“With too much quickness ever to be taught, with too much thinking to have common thought: You purchase pain with all t hat joy can give, and die of nothing but a rage to live” 2 likes
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