Further Reading

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))


Mack, Maynard. Alexander Pope: A Life. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995, 975 p.

Comprehensive treatment of Pope's life and career, placing his writings in the context of “feelings, personalities, and events which precipitated them.”


Damrosch, Leopold, Jr. “Psychology” and “Religion and Metaphysics.” In The Imaginative World of Alexander Pope, pp. 139-59, 160-91. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.

Thematic study of contemporaneous psychological, religious, and metaphysical ideas that informed Pope's works, particularly focusing on An Essay on Man.

Griffin, Dustin H. “‘Ourselves To Know’: The Poet in An Essay on Man.” In Alexander Pope: The Poet in the Poems, pp. 127-64. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1978.

Posits that the self-expressive passages of An Essay on Man reveal Pope's implicit self-consciousness towards his own rhetoric and philosophical viewpoints.

Leranbaum, Miriam. “An Essay on Man.” In Alexander Pope's ‘Opus Magnum’ 1729-1744, pp. 38-63. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977.

Examines An Essay on Man as the first stage of a planned large, more ambitious philosophical treatise on humankind and focuses on how Pope modeled the work on Lucretius's De Rerum Natura.

Morris, David B. “Pope and the Arts of Pleasure.” In The Enduring Legacy: Alexander Pope Tercentenary Essays, edited by G. S. Rousseau and Pat Rogers, pp. 95-117. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Explores the issues and conflicts surrounding the experience of pleasure during Pope's lifetime, relating relevant passages from An Essay on Man to ideas about pleasure expressed in his other writings.

Nuttall, A. D. Pope's ‘Essay on Man,’ London: George Allen & Unwin, 1984, 250 p.

Provides a comprehensive analysis of the philosophical and theological aspects of Pope's Essay on Man.

Srigley, Michael. The Mighty Maze: A Study of Pope's An Essay on Man. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia 87, 1994, 178 p.

Interprets An Essay on Man as not so much a philosophical treatise as a conversation between Pope and Bolingbroke during their strolls through Pope's gardens at Twickenham. According to Srigley, these discussions culminated in a theodicy which illustrates and informs an organic sense of spiritual evolution that depends on the individual's and society's degree of maturity.

Additional coverage of Pope's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography 1660-1789; DISCovering Authors; DISCovering Authors: British; DISCovering Authors: Canadian; DISCovering Authors: Modules—Most-studied Authors Module, Poets Module; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 95, 101; Poetry Criticism, Vol. 26; and World Literature Criticism.