In honor of the Philadelphia symposium, I thought I’d open up a new thread on Pope, since it seems that we have at least a few people who are interested in eighteenth-century poetry and Pope. Since Pope is one of those authors that I read but rarely teach, I thought it would be better to canvass people than to go on in my usual way.
So here’s my question: I’ve always been struck by the historical range of the poetry that Pope imitated, and by the equally broad range of contemporary writing he apparently championed (say, Samuel Johnson and Robinson Crusoe). Any thoughts about Pope as a reader of others’ poetry? As a critic? As, god forbid, an editor of Shakespeare? And any thoughts about how these varied habits of reading informed what has always seemed to me to be one of the most unified and distinctive styles in 18c poetry?