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An Essay on Criticism

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Video: Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism: Summary & Analysis This lesson will explore Alexander Pope's famous poem titled 'An Essay on Criticism.' In an attempt to understand the importance, influence and significance of the work, we'll look at the literary and philosophical context of the poem.

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An Essay on Criticism was published when Pope was relatively young. The work remains, however, one of the best-known commentaries on literary criticism. Although the work treats literary criticism in particular and thus relies heavily upon ancient authors as type masters, Pope still extends this criticism to general judgment about all walks of life.

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(An Essay on Criticism, ll. ) Basic set up: In this section of Pope's poem (yeah, it's a poem, but it's also an essay), he praises the ancient Roman poet Horace. An Essay on Criticism was famously and fiercely attacked by John Dennis, who is mentioned mockingly in the work. Consequently, Dennis also appears in Pope's later satire, The Dunciad. Part II of An Essay on Criticism includes a famous couplet.

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Pope's "Essay on Criticism" is a didactic poem in heroic couplets, begun, perhaps, as early as , and published, anonymously, in The poetic essay was a relatively new genre, and the "Essay" itself was Pope's most ambitious work to that time. Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope: An Overview Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism is an ambitious work of art written in heroic couplet. Published in , this poetic essay was a venture to identify and define his own role as a poet and a critic.