Reconstructing Criticism: Pope's Essay on Criticism and the Logic of Definition


At a time when the edifice of Critical Theory has itself come under the critical and historical spotlight, this study establishes grounds for bringing Pope's 1711 poem, "An Essay on Criticism, into a new and more productive association with the dynamics of the contemporary critical scene. In this theoretical and analytical study Smallwood begins by setting forth a new context of relevance and reception that ultimately leads back to Pope's early eighteenth-century poem, and in the greater part of the book he marks out in depth the specialized theoretical and aesthetic problem of demarcating "criticism" today.