[POPE, Alexander]. An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle I-IV. London: J. Wilford, [1733-34].
David Hume, An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1751. de Beer Eb 1751 H; ____, Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding. 2nd ed., with additions and corrections. London: Printed for M. Cooper, 1751. de Beer Eb 1751 H
The text of An Essay on Man was the result of a tortuous composition process. Pope first made prose notes on the philosophical arguments he wished to put forth, then worked out couplets on scraps of paper and composed a first draft. On fresh sheets, shown here, he neatly copied the verses he had composed thus far and reworked them heavily. Another fair copy with further revisions followed. Even after the poem was published, Pope continued to refine it for later editions. Dr. Johnson, who studied examples of Pope's manuscripts, found them a source of delight for those who wish "to trace the mind from the rudeness of its first conceptions to the elegance of its last."
An Essay on Man, 4 vols., 1733–34; edited by Maynard Mack, 1950
Epistle I concerns itself with the nature of man and with his place in the universe; Epistle II, with man as an individual; Epistle III, with man in relation to human society, to the political and social hierarchies; and Epistle IV, with man's pursuit of happiness in this world. An Essay on Man was a controversial work in Pope's day, praised by some and criticized by others, primarily because it appeared to contemporary critics that its emphasis, in spite of its themes, was primarily poetic and not, strictly speaking, philosophical in any really coherent sense: , never one to mince words, and possessed, in any case, of views upon the subject which differed materially from those which Pope had set forth, noted dryly (in what is surely one of the most back-handed literary compliments of all time) that "Never were penury of knowledge and vulgarity of sentiment so happily disguised." It is a subtler work, however, than perhaps Johnson realized: G. Wilson Knight has made the perceptive comment that the poem is not a "static scheme" but a "living organism," (like ) and that it must be understood as such. There are many examples of different types of poetry. The following poem An Essay on Man by the famous poet Alexander Pope can be used as an example of a poetry type or literary term. This poem provides a good example of Caesura.The four epistles of the Essay on Man were published successively on February 20, March 29, May 8, 1733 and finally on January 24, 1734. The first editions of the first three Epistles appear in variant states, the priority of which is not always clear, but none of which are of significance textually (except Griffith's issue "I" of Epistle I, which Pope revised). The 'friend' to whom the Epistles were addressed was Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke. But this poem was not simply a statement of Bolingbroke's deistic philosophy. It has been referred to as 'a public, social and classical poem', a poem that takes into account Newton's impersonal universe but also interweaves a 'tissue of images from older and more human conceptions' (M. Mack, Works, Vol. III) and which examines the human condition against Miltonic, cosmic bacground. Although Pope's perspective is well above our everyday life, and he does not hide his wide knowledge, the work is suggestive, dramatic, exciting, and sometimes even comfortably concrete: "Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: / Is Heaven unkind to Man, and Man alone?" The essay on man is an interesting topic and if approached with confidence and planning this can form a great argumentative topic for many. One thing must be maintained all through is that it must not hurt the sentiments of people. This can be fatal as every individual has their own way of seeing things. Hence such are best left being handled by the experts. A novice can create some problem while attempting to write the paper on their own. There is nothing wrong in writing on your own but only if you are very sure that you can handle it properly. So decide what is best for you when you have a critical subject to deal with.