chapter  3
66 Pages

Absalom and Achitophel

The literary career of Alexander Pope can be divided into three parts. Precocious in his youth, he established himself as probably the foremost poet of his generation well before he was 30, producing in this period such works as An Essay on Criticism, Windsor-Forest and The Rape of the Lock. Pope's reputation as a poet declined rather drastically with the rise of Romanticism at the end of his century, and although many readers in our century have found much to admire in his work, his standing is probably still less high than it was in his own day. The standard biography is Maynard Mack's Alexander Pope: A Life. Pope's poetry has been more thoroughly discussed by modern critics than that of any other writer in this volume. Geoffrey Tillotson's On the Poetry of Pope is still useful, and Reuben Brower's Alexander Pope: The Poetry of Allusion remains an essential statement of the poet's method.