Alexander Pope, 1688 - 1744

portrait of Alexander Pope
Oil on canvas by the studio of Michael Dahl (ca. 1727)
Alexander Pope signature
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Born: 21 May 1688, London, England
Died: 30 May 1744, Twickenham, England

Pope was born into a Catholic family at a time when the law said Catholics could not teach. Although he did attend two illegal schools briefly, he was mostly taught by family and his own reading. At twelve the family left London and Pope's health problems began, including Pott's disease, a form of tuberculosis that infected his bones, stunting his growth, and leaving him with a severe hunchback. His first poetry was published to critical and financial success in 1709. He undertook to translate Homer's Iliad and Odyssey into English poetry, which sold well enough to finance his estate at Twickenham and to live well off the income. He published a ham handed version of Shakespeare's work which was panned, although his preface to the edition was well regarded. He skewered his critics, and some of his friends, in various published work. At the time of his death he was regarded as the finest English poet of the day, his reputation has fallen and risen over the year but he remains one of the most-quoted of English authors.

Biography from Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia

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