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ALEXANDER POPE (1688-1744)

- Was the most important and successful poet during the 1st 2 or 3 decades of the 18th century in England.
- Pope is the only important writer of his generation who was a man of letters because he could not, as a Roman Catholic, attend a university, vote, or hold public office.
- His poetry was an expression of the RATIONAL and the NEOCLASSICISM.
- He translated Homer, edited Shakespeare, and in middle age, he wrote ethical and satirical poetry.
- Around 1700 his father, a retired London merchant, moved to a small property in Windsor Forest. There, young Pope completed his education by reading whatever he pleased and he began to write verse.
- He wrote a mock heroic poem “The Rape o f the Lock” and philosophical poems such as An Essay on Man. His production is varied.
- He also collaborated with many writers of his period such as Jonathan Swift.
- He was also a politicised writer: for him poetry was also a political instrument and he was conservative (Tory) and a supporter of the Tudor dynasty (and Queen Anne in particular).
- Pope was a master of style. His verse is notable for its rhythmic variety, despite the apparently rigid metrical unit—the heroic couplet—in which he wrote; for the precision of meaning and the harmony of his language; and for the union of maximum conciseness with maximum complexity. His poetry is full of musical combinations of words, alliteration and assonance.

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