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Synopsis

Popes defining masterwork, Essay on Man is a crystalization of the 18th Centurys defining impulses. The Essay on Man proselytizes on behalf of the deistic belief in an ordered, rational universe where humankind is no divine favorite but can understand its place on the Great Chain of Being and find happiness through knowledge and acceptance. Most will join with Voltaire in his hearty rejection of the doctrine Whatever is, is right, yet it is impossible to deny the ennobling quality of Popes optimism:

Grasp the whole worlds of reason, life, and sense, In one close system of benevolence: Happier as kinder, in whateer degree, And height of bliss but height of charity.

This is a terrific book with an indispensable work from this controversial and indispensable genius.

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