Moreover, critics must study well and focus on conventions passed down from the masters of poetry.Pope warns, however, that critics must be careful of becoming slaves to the rules and convention that others have developed and to not let the popularity of an author misguide a critic's appreciation of an author's work.
Once again, Pope emphasizes the importance of humility and studying deeply, particularly studying those poets and critics who truly understand poetry and follow nature.
Pope then reflects on the ups and downs of literature and literary critics since Greek culture, explaining how the understanding produced by the Greeks and Romans was lost and is only beginning to be appreciated again.
Enlightenment thinkers emphasized the importance of science and reason and claimed that the world is knowable and testable.
It was during the Enlightenment that modern science and many of the assumptions that govern our contemporary system of reason were developed.
Try it risk-free This lesson will explore Alexander Pope's famous poem titled 'An Essay on Criticism.' In an attempt to understand the importance, influence and significance of the work, we'll look at the literary and philosophical context of the poem.
'A little learning is a dang'rous thing,' Alexander Pope famously writes in his poem 'An Essay on Criticism.' The poem is one of the most quoted in the English language and one that offers tremendous insight into Pope's beliefs and into the culture in which Pope was writing.
When placed in the context of the Enlightenment, the poem becomes exceptionally perceptive.
For one thing, Pope's poem both praises reason and contains a humility towards reason.
More specifically, the text emphasizes the need to courageously speak your own truth, but to do so with understanding and respect for the truth that others have found through formal logic and rationality.
During and just prior to Pope's lifetime, England's government had experienced frequent and often violent turmoil.