First published in 1978, Alexander Pope is an introduction to Pope’s life and work, which sets the poet solidly in his age and relates the liveliness and variety of his poetry to the strange combination of chronic invalidism and a sociable disposition which marked his life. G. S. Fraser argues that Pope is a more varied figure than his reputation as a great satirist indicates and that he is in some ways more a survivor from the Restoration than a precursor of middle-class morality. Special attention is paid to the poems in the first Collected Works of 1717, which displays both Pope’s gaiety and his sense of colour and beauty. The dignity of his translation of Homer and the thoughtfulness and piety of An Essay on Man are also emphasised. His satirical genius, which found its greatest expression during the later years of declining health, is not ignored but set in perspective. Many readers of this persuasively argued study will be surprised to discover in it a gayer, more warm-hearted and more likeable Pope than they had, perhaps, imagined. Students of English literature will find this book immensely refreshing.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction 1. Pope: A Poet between Two Ages 2. Pope’s Character and History 3. The Volume of 1717: the Various Young Poet 4. Pope and Homer 5. An Essay on Man: Pope as Poet of Cosmic Order 6. Moral Essays: Pope as a Moral Philosopher 7. Pope as a Satirist 8. Pope and the Critics Select Bibliography Index
George S. Fraser