Pope began work on it in 1729, and had finished the first three by 1731.
They appeared in early 1733, with the fourth epistle published the following year.
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Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! The first epistle surveys relations between humans and the universe; the second discusses humans as individuals.
The poem was originally published anonymously; Pope did not admit authorship until 1735.
Pope reveals in his introductory statement, "The Design," that An Essay on Man was originally conceived as part of a longer philosophical poem which would have been expanded on through four separate books.I agree with Pope in the sense that we are all connected somehow, but I do not agree with total submission in order to achieve total unity. Rather than total submission, I believe our mission is to connect with the universe by using the special gifts given to us by the power that unites us. "Essay on Man." Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces 6th ed. According to his friend and editor, William Warburton, Pope intended to structure the work as follows: The four epistles which had already been published would have comprised the first book.The second book was to contain another set of epistles, which in contrast to the first book would focus on subjects such as human reason, the practical and impractical aspects of varied arts and sciences, human talent, the use of learning, the science of the world, and wit, together with "a satire against the misapplication" of those same disciplines.Pope asks in the poem, "Is the greater chain, that draws all to agree, upheld by God or thee? Here he explains that by conforming to the order of the universe we can all agree on and connect to one goal.Through this connection, we would then reach the purest form of humanity. ...m with these words: "Whatever is, is right" (333).Secondly, Pope discusses God's plan in which evil must exist for the sake of the greater good, a paradox not fully understandable by human reason.Thirdly, the poem accuses human beings of being proud and impious.I believe we are all individuals who are connected to a higher power, whatever that power may be.The beauty of humanity is exactly that individuality.