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Sound and Sense

Sound and Sense


by Alexander Pope

Sound and Sense Resources


Victorian Web

A great, scholarly site where you can find general biographical information about Pope and his historical context, as well as a list of his works.


This site includes biographical information, the full text of some of Pope's works, and links to a bunch of essays that can provide more context for approaching this and other Pope poems.

Poetry Foundation

Article with great historical context comparing Pope's rivalries to modern hip-hop.


Out Loud

Listen to a reading of "Sound and Sense," plus the text of the poem, in case you want to read along.



Portrait of Pope painted by Thomas Hudson, held in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Historical Documents

"Sound and Sense" in Prose

Pope wrote in a letter to Cromwell in 1710 what looks to us like a prose version of his poem: "It is not enough that nothing offends the Ear…" Read the complete version here on page 59.

An Essay on Criticism

Read the complete poem, An Essay on Criticism, of which "Sound and Sense" is only a small part, as well as other works by Pope.

"The Life of Pope" by Samuel Johnson

This is from a famous critical work in the eighteenth century entitled Lives of the Poets written by the superstar critic Samuel Johnson. There is an abridged (that is, shorter) version of the Pope section on this site as well.


The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

This guide to Pope by Paul Baines includes easily accessible information about An Essay on Criticism and many other poems.

Alexander Pope: The Genius of Sense

David B. Morris explores the commitment of the poem to the practice of literary criticism.

Movies & TV

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

OK, so the movie is actually quoting another poem by Pope called "Eloisa to Abelard." But, we dug the movie and how it showcases Pope's lyrical couplets.

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