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Epistle Essay

  • Submitted by: surbhi
  • on March 3, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 3,535 words

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Below is an essay on "Epistle" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

1] Published in January 1735. This "Epistle" is the result of a correspondence between Pope and his personal physician and lifelong friend, Dr. John Arbuthnot. In the summer of 1734 Arbuthnot, realizing that he was dying, wrote to the poet cautioning him about his satiric attacks on powerful individuals; on August 25 Pope replied: "I determine to address to you one of my Epistles, written by piecemeal many years, and which I have now made haste to put together: wherein the question is stated, what were and are my Motives of writing, the objections to them and my answers." As Pope's letter would suggest, some of the passages were written earlier and some of them--e.g., the Atticus portrait--published earlier. This portion, originally sketched out in 1715, was finally published in 1722 in the St. James Journal and in an expanded form in 1727. Arbuthnot, to whom the poem is addressed, had been one of the Scriblerus group, a prose satirist in his own right, and physician to Queen Anne during her reign.
Pope's summary of the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot is as follows: "This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of Verses to the Imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton Court) to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the Public is judge) but my Person, Morals, and Family, whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say some thing of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this Epistle. If it have anything pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the Truth and the Sentiment; and if anything offensive, it will be only to those I am least...

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