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Pope began work on it in 1729, and had finished the first three by 1731.
According to his friend and editor, William Warburton, Pope intended to structure the work as follows: The four epistles which had already been published would have comprised the first book.
The second book was to contain another set of epistles, which in contrast to the first book would focus on subjects such as human reason, the practical and impractical aspects of varied arts and sciences, human talent, the use of learning, the science of the world, and wit, together with "a satire against the misapplication" of those same disciplines.
Later however, Voltaire renounced his admiration for Pope's and Leibniz's optimism and even wrote a novel, Candide, as a satire on their philosophy of ethics.
Rousseau also critiqued the work, questioning "Pope's uncritical assumption that there must be an unbroken chain of being all the way from inanimate matter up to God." The essay, written in heroic couplets, comprises four epistles.
Common criticism given to students is that their essay: These elements will be used to give a broad overall structure to this Study Guide.
The most important starting point is to listen carefully to what the essay title is telling you.
You need to read every single word of it, and to squeeze out as much guidance you can from the title.
Then you need to plan how you will respond to every single element of the title.
The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both coursework and exams. Thought mapping; Referencing and bibliographies; Avoiding plagiarism; The art of editing.
It is the most common focus for study consultations among students using Learning Development. A collection of Question lists is available via the Learning Development website.