Although the biography was extremely popular, and the autobiography even moreso, it was socially unacceptable in the 18th century to publish one's own letters during one's own life. Pope managed it, however, through sending his own letters, in a brown paper packet, to a publisher to was a professional enemy, claiming to be someone else who had stolen them from Pope. He got paid as this false persona, and then, when the letters were published, Pope acted outraged and threatened to sue.
"That's awesome," said someone in the front row.
"Yes," agreed the prof. "Pope was awesome."
Personally I think the 18th century was just wacky. Case in point: mercurial plasters. Cited in one of the Thralina stories about Johnson. Being: bandages soaked in mercury.
Conclusion: People of the 18th century WERE CRAZY.