NONFICTION

An Essay on Man

Princeton Univ. Jul. 2016. 256p. ed. by Tom Jones. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691159812. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400880447. LIT
COPY ISBN
Pope's poem An Essay on Man—formulated to "vindicate the ways of God to man"—was one of the most widely disseminated and well-known publications of the 18th century, notably impacting Enlightenment writers Voltaire, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Jones (English, Univ. of St. Andrews, UK; Poetic Language) provides a reliable modern version. His copy text is that identified by Pope scholar Maynard Mack as the 1743b edition. Jones's substantial editorial apparatus includes a comprehensive introductory essay (of over 100 pages) summarizing the poem and situating it in literary, historical, and philosophical context. Substantive footnotes trace the poet's "possible analogues, sources, and parallels," and a catalog of "Pope's Knowledge of Authors Cited" is included. In the poem's opening remarks, Pope explains how writing in verse rather than prose permitted him to present his "principles, maxims, or precepts" memorably and with fewer words. He was right.
VERDICT Highly recommended to academic libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month