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Composed in heroic couplets (pairs of adjacent rhyming lines of iambic pentameter) and written in the Horatian mode of satire, it is a verse essay primarily concerned with how writers and critics behave in the new literary commerce of Pope's contemporary age.
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Pope contends in the poem's opening couplets that bad criticism does greater harm than bad writing: Throughout the poem, Pope refers to ancient writers such as Virgil, Homer, Aristotle, Horace and Longinus.
This is a testament to his belief that the "Imitation of the ancients" is the ultimate standard for taste.
” Not a pleasant situation, but not a hopeless one.
After all, solving such problems is what our service was created for!The first line of this couplet is often misquoted as "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688–1744).However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope's various literary opinions.A reading of the poem makes it clear that he is addressing not so much the ingenuous reader as the intending writer.It is clear from Pope's correspondence that many of the poem's ideas had existed in prose form since at least 1706.It is a verse essay written in the Horatian mode and is primarily concerned with how writers and critics behave in the new literary commerce of Pope's contemporary age.Walsh, the last of the critics mentioned, was a mentor and friend of Pope who had died in 1708.An Essay on Criticism was famously and fiercely attacked by John Dennis, who is mentioned mockingly in the work.Consequently, Dennis also appears in Pope's later satire, The Dunciad.Part II of An Essay on Criticism includes a famous couplet: This is in reference to the spring in the Pierian Mountains in Macedonia, sacred to the Muses.