He came from a middle class family and was educated only up until he was 12, but dragged himself up as an intellectual by binging on the classics of the Greek and Roman world as well as the big names of the time.From his early twenties his own work was being well received critically with his poetry and translations selling well.The rules dictate that they can only have ‘short views’ and not appreciate the ‘new distant… The ‘endless science’ Pope refers to not only links to changes within poetry, but reflects the ideas of the European Enlightenment that took off at the beginning of the 18th century – where science made leaps and bounds, pushing our understanding forward dramatically.
From the eleventh line we examine the state of the critic.
Having come to understand and recognise the majesty of Classical poetry, represented by the first mountain of the Alps, they become content and complacent.
), which as a whole sets out to tell literary critics what they should and should not do.
Our extract is the second stanza of the second of three parts of the poem.
In it, Pope advises against rash judgement from critics and that they should persevere with poets even if they make mistakes or break the rules from time to time.
He argues that without critics being open to new approaches and ideas they will stifle the rise of great poets of their age.
He suggests that age can bring a degree of cynicism and rigidity in thinking, which can prevent the bright lights of innovation and change from emerging and challenging our ideas of beauty or brilliance.
The stanza opens with a analogy comparing literary critics to thirsty hikers.
This is a common idea now, that the young lack the knowledge to fear failure and thus are more likely to ‘tempt the heights’ than those who are older and have either seen their efforts fail or who have learned to respect the work of others too much.
Again contrary to common sense, the knowledge, rules and respect the critics have learned leaves them ‘bounded’ and imprisoned against change and innovation.