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Alexander Pope

Historical Background- Timeline
Interesting Information
Study Questions
Author Biography
The Major Works of Alexander Pope
Imagery Analysis
Great LInks
The Rape of the Lock
Picture Gallery
Theme Analysis
Literary Movement
Page Title
Works Cited

Pope defines this literary movement in his "Essay on Criticism." The English Neoclassical movement drew upon classical and contemporary French models. The movement started with the Restoration in 1660 and lasted until the end of the eighteenth century when Romanticism fully emerged with the lyrical ballads of Coleridge and Wordworth.  Neoclassicism encompassed a fixed set of thoughts about the human experience. Neoclassicists supported the ideals of order, logic, accuracy, restraint, and decorum. The period is divided in three parts:
Restoration Age (1660-1770)- Milton, Bunyan, Dryden
Augustan Age (1700-1750)- Pope, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett
Age of Johnson (1750-1798)- Dr. Samuel Johnson, Sterne, new appreciation of Shakespearean works, Gothic schools
Neoclassicism replaced the Renaissance view of man as an inherently good being capable of astounding intellectual growth by the image of man as a sinful and presumptuous creature with a limited intellectual capacity. Whereas the Renaissance had emphasized imagination and mysticism, Neoclasscisim emphasized order, reason, common sense, and conservatism. The widely used prose literary forms were the essay, the letter, the satire, the parody, the burlesque, and the moral fable; and in poetry, the most renown verse form was the rhymed couplet. Pope's heroic couplets are a prime example of this form.