The Works Of Alexander Pope

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by Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is a poet famous for his moral satires and mock epics, as well as his use of the heroic couplet.[1] Pope’s professional opportunities were limited because of his Catholic faith and poor health throughout his life; this drove him to read extensively and to write poetry.[2]

His first major poem was the Pastorals (1705), which began his foray into pastoral poetry. In 1712 he started to write mock epic poetry with the Rape of the Lock, which he followed with a famous verse translation of Homer’s Iliad that took him six years to complete.

Pope explored the intellectual and emotional reach of poetry within formal composition rules, satirizing the poet’s dedication to these rules in his famous poem An Essay on Criticism (1711).

During the 1720s, Pope published multiple versions of a mock heroic the Dunciads, cementing his reputation as a satirist.[3] However, his poem An Essay on Man (1734-35) marked a move away from satire back to the poetic essay.[4] In this poem he explored the relationship between religion and human life.[5] He continued to write poetic epistles, as well as the Books of Horace, until his death in 1744.[6]

Pope first published his Works in 1717, while he was working on his translation of Homer. The Works of Alexander Pope Esq. In Nine Volumes Complete was published in 1751, and became the primary edition of Pope’s works.[7]

Foxon has shown that this octavo edition was what Pope had designed for some time before his death, despite the fact that the "death-bed" editions of the 1740s had been produced in quarto: 'Warburton produced the edition for a general readership that would always have been the result of the grand edition in quarto.' [8] The edition remains the best approach we have to Pope's final idea of how his works should be produced; and it is in this final format and this recension that Pope's text was fixed for the rest of the century.

Bibliographic Information

Author: Alexander Pope

Title: The Works Of Alexander Pope Esq. In Nine Volumes Complete, With His Last Corrections, Additions, and Improvements; as They Were Delivered to the Editor a Little Before His Death, Together With The Commentaries and Notes of Mr. Warburton

Publication Info: London: Printed for J. and P. Knapton {etc.}, 1751.


Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in 19th century hard-grained morocco, spines and edges gilt, silk markers. Ownership inscription in each volume of J. Barnard; booklabels of Charles and Mary Lacaita. Contains 23 engraved plates, including the frontispiece to volume I and two extra plates inserted in vols. I-II. Purchased from Christopher Edwards ABA ILAB.

External Links

Volume 1:Google Books Volume 2:Google Books


  1. Howard Erskine-Hill, “Pope, Alexander (1688–1744)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 3, 2013. Unless otherwise noted, all biographical details are from this source.
  2. “Alexander Pope (1688-1744),” Luminarium, excerpted from Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed., XXII (Cambridge University Press, 1910), p. 87.
  3. Maynard Mack and Duncan Robinson, “The World of Alexander Pope,” The Yale University Library Gazette, 62, No. 3/4 (Yale University, 1988), p. 108.
  4. Ibid., p. 111.
  5. Ibid., p. 111.
  6. Ibid., pp. 117-120.
  7. Ibid., p. 135.
  8. Foxon, Pope and the early 18th century book trade, p. 152