Alexander Pope Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is Alexander Pope's connection to Edmund Curll?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,343 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Edmund Curll was a publisher and a bookseller who cared only about profit, not about the quality of the work he was selling. He published badly written (hack) works and sensational works, and skimmed along at the very edge of the law when it came to violating copyrights, sometimes actually stealing people's work. Many prominent writers and poets of the era became angry with him, including, among others, Alexander Pope's friends Jonathan Swift and John Gay. Swift, a clergyman, was infuriated when Curll exposed him as the author of A Tale of a Tub, because he feared it would damage his reputation as a man of God. Swift was also annoyed that Curll's "key" to A Tale of a Tub was lacking in intelligence and insight. Pope satirizied Curll more savagely than any other figure in his Dunciad, a work that made fun of dullness, or what we would today call stupidity, focusing on "Grub Street" publishers like Currl, who would sink to almost any level to make money. Pope, in contrast, cared deeply about quality and has come down through history as the most famous poet of his era. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial