Alexander Pope: A Life

Maynard Mack, Author W. W. Norton & Company $25.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02208-7
Disadvantaged socially as a hunchback and cripple, politically as a Roman Catholic, Pope (16881744) rose to become the greatest poet of his age, in Byron's estimation ""the great moral poet of all times.'' In this first full biography of him since 1900, Pope scholar Mack blends sensitive criticism of his poetry, from the early pastorals and Homer translations to such masterpieces as The Rape of the Lock and the Dunciad, with copious and intriguing detail regarding the private life. In the process he is able to show that Pope's often exaggerated disagreeable qualitieshis vengefulness, deviousness and capacity to hatewere more than offset by his generosity, moral courage and unswerving, sometimes risky, loyalty to a circle of friends that included Swift and John Gay. Pope held a mirror to his age, catching its follies and foibles, grandeur and viciousness with unrivaled precision; and Mack brings us both Pope and the age in a biography as entertaining as it is masterly. Illustrations. January 27
Reviewed on: 10/01/1985
Release date: 10/01/1985
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 975 pages - 978-0-300-03391-5
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