Pope and His Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn

Pope and His Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn

Pope and His Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn

Pope and His Contemporaries: Essays Presented to George Sherburn

Excerpt

We have left off beating the eighteenth century.' As the bicentenary of Pope's birth drew near, Augustine Birrell made this premature pronouncement--far too confidently. But if it were repeated to-day, there would be few to challenge its validity, for the classical period in English literature has at last come into its own. Witness in recent years the steady stream of sympathetic biographies of both major and minor authors, accurate editions of their works, and investigations of the ideas and assumptions of the age. With infectious excitement research scholars and the critics have united in rediscovering the Augustans. The many biases and misconceptions of the nineteenth century, so long accepted as dogma, are finally fading into historical perspective.

Professor George Sherburn has been one of the scholars most responsible for bringing about this change in attitude. No one has contributed more to making possible an enlightened appreciation of Alexander Pope and his circle. As biographer of the youthful Pope and as literary historian of the age, he is everywhere known as a staunch adherent of the eighteenth century. His Early Career of Alexander Pope set a standard of careful, patient, biographical research, and presented us with Pope as a credible personality, free from the traditional half-truths, suspicions, and animosities which in the past obscured both the poet and the man. His recently published literary history, 1660 to 1800, is the most extensive study of the period approaching it in terms of its own principles and assumptions--a work in which critical perception and broad scholarship combine to reinterpret and revitalize the age.

His influence, moreover, has not been confined to his published works. With never-failing generosity he has for years given personal aid and encouragement to scores of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. Not only to his students at Northwestern, Chicago, Columbia, and more recently at Harvard, has he been 'guide, philosopher, and friend'; his warm, sympathetic help has been freely extended to anyone genuinely interested in the eighteenth century. If there is anywhere a serious student of this period who does not owe some debt of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.