An Essay on Man
Princeton University Press, 21. jun. 2016 - 248 sider
A definitive new edition of one of the greatest philosophical poems in the English language
Voltaire called it "the most sublime didactic poem ever written in any language." Rousseau rhapsodized about its intellectual consolations. Kant recited long passages of it from memory during his lectures. And Adam Smith and David Hume drew inspiration from it in their writings. This was Alexander Pope's Essay on Man (1733–34), a masterpiece of philosophical poetry, one of the most important and controversial works of the Enlightenment, and one of the most widely read, imitated, and discussed poems of eighteenth-century Europe and America. This volume, which presents the first major new edition of the poem in more than fifty years, introduces this essential work to a new generation of readers, recapturing the excitement and illuminating the debates it provoked from the moment of its publication.
Echoing Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost, Pope says his aim in An Essay on Man is to "vindicate the ways of God to man"—to explain the existence of evil and explore man's place in the universe. In a comprehensive introduction, Tom Jones describes the poem as an investigation of the fundamental question of how people should behave in a world they experience as chaotic, but which they suspect to be orderly from some higher point of view. The introduction provides a thorough discussion of the poem's attitudes, themes, composition, context, and reception, and reassesses the work's place in history. Extensive annotations to the text explain references and allusions.
The result is the most accessible, informative, and reader-friendly edition of the poem in decades and an invaluable book for students and scholars of eighteenth-century literature and thought.
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In this way Pope's Essay is true to the history of the essay as a genre. Essays in
the early eighteenth century are inquisitive, with the French model of Michel de
Montaigne very much in evidence, and behind Montaigne his Latin and Greek ...
Two contradictory statements can both be true of the world, in two or more of its
successive states. As John Donne put it, “though some things are not together
true, / As, that another is worthiest, and that you: /Yet, to say so, doth not
Or it may be a true present tense, suggesting that the soul now rests in the idea of
a better future state. The ambiguity of tense suggests that people already enjoy
those blessings that are possible only in the next life. The poem captures ...
... The other may seem odd, but is true, I found I could express them more shortly
this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain, than that much of the
force as well as grace of arguments or instructions, depends on their conciseness
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An Essay on ManBrukerevaluering - Book Verdict
Pope's poem An Essay on Man—formulated to "vindicate the ways of God to man"—was one of the most widely disseminated and well-known publications of the 18th century, notably impacting Enlightenment ... Les hele vurderingen