Alexander Pope Essay on Man
Alexander Pope was born May 21, 1688, in London. His father was a cloth merchant living in London, both his parents were Catholic. It was a period of intense anti-Catholic sentiment in England, and at some point Alexander's family was forced to relocate to be in compliance with a statute forbidding Catholics from living within ten miles of London or Westminster. They moved to Binfield Berkshire where Pope's early education was affected by his Catholicism. The Catholic schools were illegal but, they were allowed to survive in some places. Prior to his move to Binfield Pope spent a year at Twofold, where he wrote "a satire on some faults of his master," which led to him being whipped and beaten until he became ill. Then once again he was taken from his family.
Alexander went to study with Thomas Deane, a convert to Catholicism who lost his position at Oxford as a result of his religious beliefs. After the Pope family moved to Bin field Alexander became self-taught.
Pope's disease apparently tuberculosis of the bone became evident when he was about twelve. Later in Pope's life, Sir Joshua Reynolds described him as "about four feet six high; very humpbacked and deformed. Pope was also afflicted with constant headaches, sometimes so severe that he could barely see the paper he wrote upon, frequent violent pain at bone and muscle joints shortness of breath, increasing inability to ride horses or even walk for exercise. William Wycherley, impressed by some of Pope's early poetry, introduced him into fashionable London literary circles in 1704. Public attention came with the publication of Pastorals in 1709. The Rape of the Lock helped secure Pope's reputation as a leading poet of the age.
Pope moved Twickenham in 1717 there he received visitors just about everyone, attacked his literary contemporaries although notable exceptions were Swift and Gay, with whom he had close friendships and continued to publish poetry. He died May 21, 1744 at Twickenham Village. He wrote a poem called the Essay of a Man in 1733-1734) Pope examined the human condition against Miltonic, cosmic background. Although Pope's perspective is well above our everyday life, and he does not hide his wide knowledge, the dramatic work suggest than humankind is a part of nature and the diversity of living forms each beast, each insect, happy in its own. Is Heaven unkind to Man and Man alone? In moral essays in 1731 Pope separated behavior from character. Alexander Pope quoted "not always actions show the man, we find. Who does a kindness is not therefore kind." Pope prepared an edition of his correspondence, doctored to his own advantage. He also employed discreditable artifices to make it appear that the correspondence was published against his wishes. With the translation of the Odyssey, Pope was eager to take all of the credit, trying to avoid mentioning the contribution of other writers.