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February 1, 2017

Alexander Pope Quick Facts


Alexander Pope

A prominent English poet and satirist of the 18th century.

Profile

  • Birth Name: Alexander Pope
  • Date of Birth: May 21, 1688
  • Place of Birth: London, United Kingdom
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini
  • Death: May 30, 1744
  • Place of Death: Twickenham, United Kingdom
  • Cause of Death: Tuberculosis
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial: St Mary's Church, Twickenham, Greater London, England
  • Last Words: NA
  • Epitaph: NA
  • Father: Alexander Pope Senior (1646–1717)
  • Mother: Edith (née Turner) (1643–1733)
  • Siblings: None
  • Relationship: Martha Blount (1690–1762)
  • Marital Status: Unmarried
  • Children: None
  • Height: 4 ft 6 in
  • Alma Mater: Twyford School
  • Known for: for his satirical verse with masterful use of heroic couplet
  • Criticized for: NA
  • Influences: Horace (65 BC –8 BC), Juvenal, Homer, Virgil (70 BC –19 BC), William Shakespeare (1564 –1616), Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 –1400), and John Dryden (1631–1700)
  • Influenced: NA

Quotes

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.”

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

Major Themes

  • Contemporary Cultural Milieu
  • Gender Roles
  • Female Sexuality
  • Deterioration of Heroic Ideals
  • Religious Piety
  • Idleness of the Upper Classes
  • Ephemeral Nature of Beauty

Notable Works

  • Pastorals (1709)
  • An Essay on Criticism (1711)
  • The Rape of the Lock (1712 to 1717)
  • A Key to the Lock (1714)
  • Windsor Forest (1713)
  • Prologue to Mr. Addison's Cato (1713)
  • Imitation of Horace, Book II. Sat. 6 (1714)
  • Eloisa to Abelard (1717)
  • Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady (1717)
  • The Iliad of Homer (poetic interpretation) (1715 to 1720)
  • The Odyssey of Homer (poetic interpretation) (1725)
  • Thoughts on Various Subjects (published in Swift's Miscellanies) (1727)
  • The Dunciad (1728)
  • Moral Essays (1731 to 1735)
  • Essay on Man (1734)
  • The Prologue to the Satires (see the Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot) (1735)
  • Satires, Epistles, and Odes of Horace (1733 to 1738)
  • The Universal Prayer (1738)
  • New Dunciad (1743)

Did You Know?

  • Alexander Pope was called "The Wicked Wasp of Twickenham" for his harsh literary satires of his fellow writers.
  • Pope’s father, who worked as a linen merchant was also named Alexander Pope.
  • Pope was born during the peak of the anti-Catholic movement, so he received much of his education at home.
  • He had a purported romantic involvement with Martha Blount, although no strong evidence could be presented to prove that Pope and Martha were more than very good spiritual friends. 
  • At the age of twelve, he was contracted with the Pott’s disease which restricted his height to only 4 feet 6 inches and also caused a hunchback.
  • Popes enemies used to make fun of his disfigured body.
  • The Pott’s disease caused him many other health complications such as respiratory problems, high fevers, continuous headache, inflamed eyes and abdominal pain, which gradually culminated to his death.
  • His first work was Pastorals which was published in 1709 in the sixth part of Tonson’s Poetical Miscellanies.
  • Pope took about three years to finish his poem An Essay on Criticism.
  • His The Rape of the Lock (1712) was based on a true event that happened to his acquaintance.
  • His knowledge of English, French, Italian, Latin and Greek helped him to study works of great writers like Juvenal, Homer, Virgil, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, and John Dryden.
  • He was buried next to his mother in the nave of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Twickenham.
  • Rumour has it that Pope's skull was exhumed some time later and purchased for phrenological examination. Consequently, he is said to haunt the church.

References

“Alexander Pope”. Wikipedia. 2017. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 4 January 2017
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pope >.
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