Google full text of our books:


An Essay on Man
Alexander Pope
Edited and with an introduction by Tom Jones

Paperback | May 2018 | $17.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691181059
248 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 5 b/w illus.
Hardcover | 2016 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691159812
248 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400880447 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction[PDF] pdf-icon

A Q&A with Tom Jones

Voltaire called it "the most sublime didactic poem ever written in any language." Rousseau rhapsodized about its intellectual consolations. Kant recited long passages of it from memory during his lectures. And Adam Smith and David Hume drew inspiration from it in their writings. This was Alexander Pope's Essay on Man (1733–34), a masterpiece of philosophical poetry, one of the most important and controversial works of the Enlightenment, and one of the most widely read, imitated, and discussed poems of eighteenth-century Europe and America. This volume, which presents the first major new edition of the poem in more than fifty years, introduces this essential work to a new generation of readers, recapturing the excitement and illuminating the debates it provoked from the moment of its publication.

Echoing Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost, Pope says his aim in An Essay on Man is to "vindicate the ways of God to man"—to explain the existence of evil and explore man's place in the universe. In a comprehensive introduction, Tom Jones describes the poem as an investigation of the fundamental question of how people should behave in a world they experience as chaotic, but which they suspect to be orderly from some higher point of view. The introduction provides a thorough discussion of the poem's attitudes, themes, composition, context, and reception, and reassesses the work's place in history. Extensive annotations to the text explain references and allusions.

The result is the most accessible, informative, and reader-friendly edition of the poem in decades and an invaluable book for students and scholars of eighteenth-century literature and thought.

Tom Jones teaches English at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of Poetic Language: Theory and Practice from the Renaissance to the Present and Pope and Berkeley: The Language of Poetry and Philosophy.


"An Essay on Man . . . was one of the most widely disseminated and well-known publications of the 18th century, notably impacting Enlightenment writers Voltaire, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Jones provides a reliable modern version."--Library Journal

"The book is exemplary in its scholarship. [Jones] has unearthed a multiplicity of references and illuminates the antecedents of Pope's ideas with authority. This is an edition which should be recommended to every student and teacher of the poem. Jones writes too in a straightforward and direct style and can make sophisticated ideas accessible. There is no sensible criticism that could be levelled at his work in this volume."--Penniless Press

"Jones’s edition makes the energetically paradoxical Essay on Man accessible. . . . The introduction is extensive and excellent. . . . I can think of only two greater poems in English about life, the universe, and everything--Paradise Lost and The Waste Land. And the Essay is perhaps more persistently useful to think with than even those two. . . . Pope’s philosophical poem is as volatile and challenging as ever."--Robert Phiddian, Australian Book Review


"This is a definitive, reader-friendly edition of a poem that ought to be circulated as widely as possible. The textual commentary is a model of its kind--lucid, full, rich in insight, and especially good at tracking down and elucidating the allusions in which the poem abounds. The introduction is also an exemplary piece of literary scholarship."--Brian Young, Christ Church College, University of Oxford

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments vii
Abbreviations and Frequently Cited Works ix
Introduction xv
Note on the Text cxvii
An Essay on Man 1
Pope’s Knowledge of Authors Cited 99
Bibliography 107
Index 123

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $17.95 ISBN: 9780691181059

    Add to shopping cart

     Hardcover : $24.95 ISBN: 9780691159812

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £19.95 ISBN: 9780691159812

    Add to shopping cart

     Paperback  £14.95 ISBN: 9780691181059

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 9/7/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Literature: Primary Works And Letters
    More Choices