Information Update - Fall 1995
Alexander Pope First Editions Donated To Library
- Brian J. Murray and his wife Diane have donated a collection of first editions by Alexander Pope to the Weinberg Memorial Library in Memory Louis D, Mitchell, Ph.D. Mr. Murray, a University trustee, earned a bachelor's in English in 1967; Dr. Mitchell has a member of the University English faculty for 28 years until his death in 1989.
- Alexander Pope, a self-taught genius and one of the foremost authors of the 18th century, is best known for his original verse, literary criticism, and his translations of Greek and Latin poetry. Born in 1688 in an England that was violently anti-Catholic, Pope was prohibited from formal education in the English public school system since his parents were Catholic. Nonetheless, he learned Latin, Greek, French, and Italian before the age of fifteen and began a distinguished career of writing with his work the Pastorals, written at the age of sixteen. Tuberculosis of the spine, suffered as a child, stunted his growth and plagued him with severe headaches for the rest of his life. His biographers believe that his medical maladies may have contributed to his rather cynical but honest view of humanity.
- Pope first published the work which made him famous, Essays on Criticism, at age 22, and became the first English poet who could actually support himself by his literary talents. He proceeded to write prolifically in poetry, literary criticism, and translations until 1733, when he turned his attention to correspondence.
- Because of his early success in poetry and translation, the letters or epistles of Alexander Pope were of great interest to the readers of the 18th century. The letters are a large (over 2000 pages) and significant body of material exploring most of the literary and political matters of his time. The collection housed in the University Archives covers the time period from 1733 to 1738 and draws six different works into one volume. Most notable in this work are The First Satire of the Second Book Horace ( 1738), Epistle from Mr. Pope to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734), and the First Epistle the Second Book of Horace (1738). The works of this collection portray the author as a didactic and clever satirist who poked fun at the pompous politicians of his time. The original letters, some in his characteristic heroic couplet, provide an intimate view of Pope's world and his genius.
Betsey Moylan and Charles Kratz