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A Brief Bio of Alexander Pope

by PoetrySoup

Pope, Alexander, eminent English poet, born in London, of Roman Catholic parents; was a sickly child, and marred by deformity, and imperfectly educated; began to write verse at 12 in which he afterwards became such a master; his "Pastorals" appeared in 1709, "Essay on Criticism" in 1711, and "Rape of the Lock" in 1712, in the production of which he was brought into relationship with the leading literary men of the time, and in particular Swift, between whom and him a lifelong friendship was formed; in 1715-20 appeared his translation of the "Iliad," and in 1723-25 that of the "Odyssey," for which two works, it is believed, he received some £9000; afterwards, in 1728, appeared the "Dunciad," a scathing satire of all the small fry of poets and critics that had annoyed him, and in 1732 appeared the first part of the famous "Essay on Man"; he was a vain man, far from amiable, and sometimes vindictive to a degree, though he was capable of warm attachments, and many of his faults were due to a not unnatural sensitiveness as a deformed man; but as a poet he is entitled to the homage which Professor Saintsbury pays when he characterises him as "one of the greatest masters of poetic form that the world has ever seen" (1688-1744).