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Biography of Alexander Pope

Portrait of Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope was a seventeenth/eighteenth century poet, essayist and satirist of the Augustan Age.

When and Where was he Born?

21 May 1688, London, England. 

Family Background:

Alexander Pope’s family were Catholics. His father, also called Alexander Pope, was a linen merchant. His mother was his father’s second wife called Edith Turner.


Pope was educated mostly at home partly due to laws upholding the Church of England. He also suffers numerous illnesses throughout his childhood, chiefly Pott’s Disease (Tuberculosis of the Spine). This deformed and stunted his growth and he never grew taller than 4 foot 6 inches in height. He also suffered from debilitating headaches all of his life.

Timeline of Alexander Pope:

1700: Pope writes his first verses at the age of twelve.

1713: Pope forms the Scriblerus club with his friend Jonathan Swift and others, such as the composer of the “Beggar’s Opera” John Gay.

1711 He writes what is thought to be his first major workAn Essay on Criticism”.

1712: He competes his most famous work “The Rape of the Lock”.

1714: Pope writes the “Epistle to Martha Blount”.

1717: Completion of his works “Eloisa to Abelard and Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady” and several shorter works.

1720: Pope completes his English translation of Homer’s “Iliad”. The commercial success of his translations later made Pope the first English poet to be able to live off the sales of his work alone. I am “indebted to no prince or peer alive,” he said.

1726: English translation of “The Oddyssey (with William Broome and Elijah Fenton).

1728: He writes “The Dunciad” a satire. This is largely in response to his detractors such as Lewis Theobald who did not like his version of William Shakespeare where he changed some of the metre of the original. “The Dunciad” is the first of his moral and satirical poems.

1731-35: Ope completes the “Moral Essays”.

1733-38: He completes “Imitations of Horace”.

1734: He writes “The Essay on Man”.

1735: He writes “The Epistle to Arbuthnot”.

1742: Pope publishes an extended version of “The Dunciad”

When and Where did he Die?

30 May 1744 Twickenham, near London, England of what apparently was congestive failure.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1711 “An Essay on Criticism”.
1712: The Rape of the Lock (1712, revised 1714).
1714: Epistle to Martha Blount”.
1717: “Eloisa to Abelard and Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady”. 
1720: English translation of Homer’s “Iliad”.
1726: English translation of “The Oddyssey (with William Broome and Elijah Fenton).
1728: “The Dunciad” A satire.
1731-35: “Moral Essays”.
1733-38: “Imitations of Horace”.
1734: “The Essay on Man”.
1735: The Epistle to Arbuthnot”.
1742: Extended version of “The Dunciad”.


Never married

Site of Grave:

St Mary’s Church, Twickenham, London.