A Reading of Alexander Pope's Epistle to Burlington

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Kim, youngmoo
Issue Date
서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
영학논집 5(1981): 97-112
art and technicsgigantic mirror
Reading Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is always difficult and challenging.
As in the case of most poets, there will be various ways to
approach him. In this paper, as a personal effort to understand Pope,
I have extended my frame of reference as far as possible to examine
him from a vantage point which we now command. And I have found
that the American architectural critic Lewis Mumford's (1895-) insight
into the nature of a "healthy art," i.e., reconciliation between functional
considerations and aesthetic effect, provides a good starting-point
for the discussion of Pope's Epistle to Burlington (1731).
In Art and Technics Mumford emphasizes the importance of the
humanization of technique as an essential condition for a meaningful
life. Unlike many other art critics, he is not possessed by the illusion
that art will provide the most valid answer to questions about life or
that art is after all useless. He recognizes that the desire for art and
the desire for technique are intrinsic in human life and that the
negation of either one will inevitably impoverish human life. Mumford's
brilliant comment on the Secretariat Building of the United Nations is
quite illuminating at this point. "That great oblong prism of steel
and aluminum and glass, less a building than a gigantic mirror in
which the urban landscape of Manhattan is reflected, is in one sense
one of the most perfect achievements of modern technics."
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.05 (1981)
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