Poet, born in London, England, UK, to a Roman Catholic family in the year of the Protestant Revolution. In 1700 the family settled at Binfield, Berkshire. Debarred from university because of his religion, and largely self taught, he suffered from poor health caused by tuberculosis, and asthma, and had a curvature of the spine, his resulting diminutive stature (4 ft 6 in) providing a target for critics, since he was frequently engaged in literary vendettas. He became well known as a satirical poet, and a master of the heroic couplet, notably in The Rape of the Lock (1712-1714). He turned to translation with the Iliad (1715-1720), whose success enabled him to set up a home in Twickenham, but he was forced to remove himself from London following further anti-Catholic measures after the Jacobite rebellion of 1713. However he formed a friendship with his neighbour, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, which was very important to him but soured after 1723. There he wrote his major poem, The Dunciad (1728, continued 1742), the Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot (1735), the philosophical Essay on Man (1733-1741) and a series of satires imitating the epistles of Horace (1733-1738).
From the crayon drawing by W. Hoare in the National Portrait Gallery, London
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