Works of Alexander Pope.
April 17, 2010 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a good anthology of Alexander Pope's works, or similar poetry?

Recently began enjoying the works of Alexander Pope again, and would like to purchase a good anthology of works by him to keep. Can anyone recommend any?

I'm also looking for other poetry that I might enjoy, things that are similar to his work, in terms of accessibility and depth. Any recommendations welcome.
posted by oracle bone to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The best one-volume collection is John Butt's The Poems of Alexander Pope, which is based on the standard Twickenham edition. (Ignore the one star review--it's referring to the Kindle edition, not the hardcopy.) If you want to economize, Oxford has released a cheaper edition of The Major Works.

To find more Pope-like poets, I'd suggest checking out Roger Lonsdale's two important anthologies: The Oxford Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse and Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. In the early nineteenth century, the poet who most avowedly took Pope as his model was Lord Byron.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:14 PM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can't fault those picks: I own them all.

The 'Major Works' selection, previously part of the 'Oxford Authors' series, has some letters and prose works (the Curll pamphlets, the lovely On the Art of Sinking in Poetry) which don't make it into the Butt collected poems, as well as selections from the Homer translation, so I think it's a better introduction, but less of a keeper.

The Lonsdale anthologies leave out seventeenth-century poems for obvious reasons, and you might want to look in that direction for earlier examples of couplet satire: Dryden's 'Mac Flecknoe', Garth's 'The Dispensary', Rochester's 'Satyr against Reason and Mankind' etc. You may also want to look at the didactic context of An Essay on Man and the Epistles to Several Persons, or their depiction of the natural world, and that's slightly trickier, though you can go as far back as Denham's 'Cooper's Hill', a famous and influential poem invoked by Pope in 'Windsor-Forest'.

(You might also want to look at Fairer and Gerrard's Blackwell anthology, which takes a slightly different editorial approach -- more full texts, fewer excerpts -- and covers poets whose work had attracted new interest after Lonsdale's first anthology was published.)
posted by holgate at 6:43 PM on April 17, 2010

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