Alexander Pope An Essay On Criticism

Alexander Pope An Essay On Criticism-34
Artist can’t go beyond his intention, he is limited within his desires.He should not be over ambitious and over imaginative but critics can go beyond their intention.

Artist can’t go beyond his intention, he is limited within his desires.

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So, sources of art are society and ancient artists.

Pope’s primary concern in this essay is his advice mainly for critics, and secondarily for artists or poets.

He strongly puts his ideas on the ongoing question of if poetry should be natural or written as per the predetermined artificial rules set by the classical poets.

This essay by Pope is neoclassical in its premises; in the tradition of Horace and Boileau.The "Essay on Criticism," then, is deliberately ambiguous: Pope seems, on the one hand, to admit that rules are necessary for the production of and criticism of poetry, but he also notes the existence of mysterious, apparently irrational qualities — "Nameless Graces," identified by terms such as "Happiness" and "Lucky Licence" — with which Nature is endowed, and which permit the true poetic genius, possessed of adequate "taste," to appear to transcend those same rules.The critic, of course, if he is to appreciate that genius, must possess similar gifts.True Art, in other words, imitates Nature, and Nature tolerates and indeed encourages felicitous irregularities which are in reality (because Nature and the physical universe are creations of God) aspects of the divine order of things which is eternally beyond human comprehension.Only God, the infinite intellect, the purely rational being, can appreciate the harmony of the universe, but the intelligent and educated critic can appreciate poetic harmonies which echo those in nature.The poetic essay was a relatively new genre, and the "Essay" itself was Pope's most ambitious work to that time.It was in part an attempt on Pope's part to identify and refine his own positions as poet and critic, and his response to an ongoing critical debate which centered on the question of whether poetry should be "natural" or written according to predetermined "artificial" rules inherited from the classical past.Artist has to undergo practice, learning and experiences. Pope says, “A little learning is a dangerous thing”. A critic if has pride, can’t take out the real essence from the text.To be good critic, one should have courage, modesty and honesty.All of his erring critics, each in their own way, betray the same fatal flaw.The final section of the poem discusses the moral qualities and virtues inherent in the ideal critic, who is also the ideal man — and who, Pope laments, no longer exists in the degenerate world of the early eighteenth century.


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