Talk:An Essay on Criticism

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Essay = attempt?[edit]

Perhaps "essay" in the title more refers to it being an "attempt"? By that definition, it sounds as if it is an essay (an attempt). zoney  talk 22:55, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

maybe this is something for Alexander Pope to think about - indeed its not what you expect an essay to be - but that's what it's called! Birtemueller (talk) 16:09, 16 December 2008 (UTC)birtemueller
The French translation of this work uses the word "essai" in the title, which the German translation (possibly using the French translation as its source rather than the English original) adopts as "Versuch". Is there anything to support this interpretation (e.g. contemporary usage)? --TraceyR (talk) 15:36, 29 January 2014 (UTC)


"Ironically, the first line of this couplet is often misquoted as "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," thus reinforcing the aptness of this very admonition, as the misquote betrays a certain want of learning."

I don't think it "reinforces the aptness of the admonition" because the consequence of the mistake is not that one is uninspired (unable to taste the Pierian spring), but just that one has quoted something slightly wrongly. What a snooty thing to put in a wikipedia article.—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

I noticed the same idiocy, and have removed it. I would even argue that the claim about a misquote is incorrect, and that the essay has merely been the original source of a saying that has grown independent of its source. (talk) 02:14, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Literary background[edit]

SamWormie (talk) 03:35, 25 March 2008 (UTC)The ideas presented in this article are not at all grounded in current literary thought. For example, the second sentence doesn't make any sense. If it is a compendium of this literary theories, how is it not original? The most commonly accepted view on the poem is that while it didn't necessarily have any new ideas in it, it synthesized those of his predecessors and contemporaries in an original way. That he had previously mentioned some of the ideas presented in correspondence doesn't make the poem un-original. Even a great poet can't come up with something brand new every time they sit down to write a poem. They have to think about it first, and make sure their ideas make sense. That's enough ranting for now.

And yet a great poet will express a used thought so well that it becomes true wit. (talk) 13:26, 4 November 2012 (UTC)