The Works of Alexander Pope
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 496 páginas
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. ' ESSAY ON CRITICISM.' Opposite JuJgramts on the Poem?Imitation of Nature?Oiiijm cf False Wit?Authority of the Classics. 1711. Hitherto, Pope had not advanced beyond a purely conventional circle of ideas. His imitative compositions consist, as we have seen, partly of translations, partly of poems professedly original, but which aim at little beyond reproducing the external manner of the classical writers, and which exhibit all those defects of judgment ridiculed by Erasmus in his ' Ciceronianus.' Like Bembo and his followers, Pope was at first overpowered by models of unrivalled literary excellence, and, in his desire to copy them exactly, failed to understand the life and spirit which constituted the propriety of the origin.il style. His industry, however, brought its reward, for, by constantly seeking English equivalents for Latin idioms, he found out many subtle secrets of harmony in his mother tongue, so that afterwards, when he formed really original conceptions, he had no difficulty in clothing them in musical language. We come now to a poem, in which he is seen to be formally defining for himself the real meaning of ' correctness' in poetry, and to be reasoning on the relation between the spirit of classical antiquity and the circumstances of his own age. Pope himself gives two different dates for the composition of the 'Essay on Criticism.' On the title-page of the poem, when it was published in the volume of 1717, heannounced that it was written in the year 1709, and he repeated the statement in every fresh edition of his works up to 1743; when Warburton observed, in the last sentence of his Commentary, that the Essay was ' the work of an author who had not yet attained the twentieth year of his age.' In explanation of the discrepancy Richards...
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