This course is discontinued

ENG4457 – Alexander Pope and the Literary Imagination

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will give an introduction to the major works of Alexander Pope (1688—1744). He is the greatest poet of the eighteenth century, as well as its most brilliant translator. His astonishingly varied poetic career is paradigmatic of the repertoire of poetic genres of his time, and played a key role in defining the literary possibilities of his age.

He is the first non-dramatic poet to make a fortune by publishing verse, and by his pioneering entrepreneurship he redefined the literary marketplace. In doing so, he also reinvented the role of the author single-handed.

Through close reading, we will explore his poems’ main thematic concerns and poetic qualities. Since close reading goes hand in hand with contextualization, we will also develop an understanding of the poem’s various aesthetic, intellectual, historical and political contexts.

Pat Rogers’s Pope Encyclopedia and Paul Baines’s survey of current scholarship will serve as the main points of entry to Pope Studies. By writing a research paper, students will learn to engage in the lively critical debate on Pope’s work and his impact on the literary and political world of the eighteenth century.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have:

  • learned to read Pope carefully and sensitively
  • learned to ask productive research questions
  • acquired the skill to use the library as a researcher should
  • engaged practically with Pope scholarship—and above all, to enjoy Pope’s poems


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Admission to the European and American Literature Studies program or LeP.

The course has a capacity of 15 students.  ILOS will not provide additional capacity if there are more applicants.


Seminar, two hours per week for ten weeks, 20 hours in all.

Attendance is obligatory at least 8 out of 10 seminars, as well as contributions in the form of one oral presentation (pass/fail). Additional absences must be justified by documentation given to the exam coordinator.


The assessment of the course is based on a term paper of approximately ten pages (4000 words). The topic for the term paper will be determined by the teacher and student together.

Students are required to submit the term paper at an appointed time. Beforehand, students will be given an opportunity to submit a draft of the term paper and receive individual feedback on both the form and content of the draft.

You submit your paper in Fronter in the course's "fellesrom". Read more about submission procedures

The term paper is the basis for the grade in this course.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






This course is offered irregularly

Teaching language