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Pierian – this refers to a spring in the Pierian mountains in Macedonia which the Ancient Greeks believed was the source of scientific and literary knowledge; Muse – Ancient Greeks’ goddesses of literature, science and the arts; Alps – a mountain range in Western Europe.Pope is one of those rare poets who was actually very successful thanks to his writing.
), which as a whole sets out to tell literary critics what they should and should not do.
Our extract is the second stanza of the second of three parts of the poem.
Without this fear they try to achieve the heights, which implies those governed by rules are also limited by them.
The critics on the other hand are bound by the rules and thus constricted from recognising innovative brilliance and achievement.
The rules dictate that they can only have ‘short views’ and not appreciate the ‘new distant… The ‘endless science’ Pope refers to not only links to changes within poetry, but reflects the ideas of the European Enlightenment that took off at the beginning of the 18th century – where science made leaps and bounds, pushing our understanding forward dramatically.
An Essay On Criticism Part 3 Analysis Yaron Singer Thesis
Pope encourages critics to avoid the temptation to become self-satisfied with their Classical knowledge and poetic comprehension.He came from a middle class family and was educated only up until he was 12, but dragged himself up as an intellectual by binging on the classics of the Greek and Roman world as well as the big names of the time.From his early twenties his own work was being well received critically with his poetry and translations selling well.The implication here is that they are going to act as a stifling agent against the ‘fearless youth’ of innovative young poets.Pope is a big one for Classical allusion and his comment about the critics taking ‘shallow draughts’ from ‘the Pierian spring’ suggests that they are making judgement based on only a tiny perception of the full knowledge of the arts.He suggests that age can bring a degree of cynicism and rigidity in thinking, which can prevent the bright lights of innovation and change from emerging and challenging our ideas of beauty or brilliance.The stanza opens with a analogy comparing literary critics to thirsty hikers.Their knowledge of what good water taste like leads them to discount the water of the Pierian spring after a little sip, which leaves them in a drunken rage at how it doesn’t taste quite right.However, Pope encourages them to drink deeper to appreciate to expand their horizons and embrace brilliant innovation.This could be down to the fact that as a Catholic at the time he was unable to hold public office; he had a hunchback so wasn’t very attractive to the other sex; and he had health problems that stunted his growth meaning he only ever reached 4″6.So with all that he had bugger all else to do, except become a kick ass poet.