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Analysis of John Dryden’s Plays

In a period of just over thirty years (1663-1694), John Dryden (August 9, 1631 – May 12, 1700) wrote or coauthored twenty-eight plays, an output that made him the most prolific dramatist of his day. His amplitude remains even more remarkable when one considers the amount of poetry, criticism, and translation he produced during the same period. This prolific production is equaled by the variety of the plays: heroic plays, political plays, operas, heroic tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies. In his prefaces and other prose works, Dryden commented at some length on the various types of plays, seeking to define and to clarify the dramatic forms in which he wrote.

John_Dryden_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt

Yet Dryden himself recognized that his dramas were not likely to wear well, and his literary reputation today rests largely on his poetry and criticism. The operas King Arthur and The State of Innocence (which was not produced during his lifetime) survive primarily in their lyrics. Like other operas of the time, they were somewhat primitive, judged by modern standards, with relatively little music—something more akin to the masque or to modern musical comedy than to grand opera. The heroic plays are too artificial to appeal to any but the most devoted scholars of the period, and Dryden’s comedies and tragicomedies suffer in comparison with those of his contemporaries, Sir George Etherege, William Wycherley, and William Congreve, not to mention his predecessors in English drama. As an index to the taste of the Restoration, however, the plays remain valuable and instructive, reflecting the levels of achievement and prevalent values of dramatic art of the time. Further, a study of Dryden reveals much about both aesthetic and intellectual influences on the drama of his period and the development of the dramatic genres of his age.

John Dryden was a prolific playwright, creating heroic plays, political plays, operas, heroic tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies; however, he is best remembered for his poetry and criticism, as many of his plays did not stand the test of time.

Marriage à la Mode

Dryden’s best comedy is generally considered to be Marriage à la Mode. His others rely heavily on farcical situations and double entendre and, at times, inept licentiousness that makes comedies such as The Assignation and The Kind Keeper seem unnecessarily coarse even by the standards of his time. Marriage à la Mode combines in its two distinct plot lines the conventions of the romantic tragicomedy and the Restoration comedy of manners, a genre not fully established when Dryden produced his play.

The tragicomic plot involves the theme of succession, perhaps Dryden’s most frequent dramatic theme after love and honor. Polydamas, having usurped the throne of Sicily, discovers two young persons of gentle birth but unknown parentage who have been living among fisher folk under the care of Hermogenes, a former courtier. When Hermogenes tells the usurper that Leonidas is his son, born after his wife had fled from him, the king accepts this as correct, even though Leonidas is actually the son of the king he had deposed. When Polydamas insists that Leonidas marry the daughter of his friend, Leonidas refuses because of his love for Palmyra, the girl with whom he had been discovered. To frustrate this passion, Polydamas seeks to banish her, whereupon Hermogenes declares that Palmyra is the king’s daughter and claims Leonidas as his own son, for he cannot risk revealing the truth about Leonidas, in reality the rightful successor. Polydamas then seeks to have Palmyra marry his favorite, Argaleon, and banishes Leonidas, later changing the sentence to death. Facing execution, Leonidas manages to proclaim his right to the throne, to bring his captors over to his side, and to oust Polydamas, whom he generously forgives as the father of his beloved Palmyra.

The tragicomic characteristics are all present—the unusual setting; the usurper; the long-lost noble youth; the faithful servant; the idealization of romantic love, struggling successfully against the odds and triumphing. To heighten the tone, Dryden uses blank verse rather than prose and, in the most serious passages, employs rhymed heroic couplets. The tragicomic plot, in the manner of John Fletcher, reveals a significant debt to Elizabethan and Jacobean tragicomedies.

Whereas in the main plot, the attitude toward love is idealistic, the subplot represents a sharp contrast in the value placed on both love and marriage. Dryden creates two witty couples—Rhodophil and Doralice, Palamede and Melantha—the first pair married and the second engaged by arrangement of their parents. Their attitudes toward marriage and love are as cynical and sophisticated as is standard in the comedy of manners. Palamede hopes before marriage to carry off an affair with his friend Rhodophil’s wife, while Rhodophil hopes to make Melantha his mistress. They freely satirize Puritans and country folk, and the prevailing attitude of society toward marriage is indicated by Rhodophil when he speaks of his wife, “Yet I loved her a whole half year, double the natural term of any mistress; and I think, in my conscience, I could have held out another quarter, but then the world began to laugh at me, and a certain shame, of being out of fashion, seized me.”

Disguises, masked balls, and assignations keep Dryden’s plot lively and suspenseful, though the couples’ goals are never realized because all plans either are intercepted or go awry, and at the end, they part still friends. Throughout, the dialogue sparkles with repartee unequaled in any of Dryden’s other plays. It includes Melantha’s affected French expressions along with much double entendre and innuendo, yet it is never brutally licentious in tone, as is true of dialogue in comedies such as The Kind Keeper.

Though the two plots are loosely connected, Rhodophil does bring the newly found gentlefolk to the court, and both he and Palamede unite to support Leonidas in the final act. Further, the attitudes of parents who arrange marriages are condemned in both plot lines. For the most part, however, the plots occur in two separate worlds—the witty and sophisticated world of the comedy of manners and the idealistic and sentimental world of tragicomedy.

Heroic plays

During the period from 1663 to 1680, Dryden wrote, entirely or in part, twenty-one plays. His initial success came with his heroic plays from The Indian Queen to Aureng-Zebe, by which time the genre had almost run its course. The heroic play was influenced by a variety of sources, including the English dramas of John Fletcher, the French tragedies of Pierre Corneille, and the French poetic romances of Madeleine de Scudéry and Gautier de Costes de La Calprenède. The most prominent feature that set the genre apart from the usual tragedy was the dialogue in heroic couplets, attributed to the playwrights’ efforts to please Charles II, who, it was said, had come to enjoy the rhymed French drama he saw during his years in exile. Dryden defended the artificiality of rhymed dialogue on the grounds that the plays dealt with conflicts and characters above the commonplace; thus, the stylistic elevation provided by rhyme was appropriate. The characters, however, engage in lengthy rhymed speeches, usually with two characters confronting each other, and the result has seemed in a later time excessively artificial.

The plays frequently employ spectacle, enhanced by songs, dances, and elaborate costumes. The settings are usually exotic rather than English, thus heightening their romantic appeal. The Indian Queen and The Indian Emperor, for example, are set inMexico, whereas both parts of Dryden’s The Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards are set in Spain. Warfare, conquest, and striving dominate the plays.

The characters belong to a set of types that include as the protagonist the lovehonor hero, who finds himself involved in intrigues and power struggles that put those virtues to the test. Like the other characters, he does not change; the tests the characters encounter are intended to show the strength of their virtue or the depth of their depravity. The hero is surrounded by such Fletcherian types as the sentimental maiden, whom he loves; the evil woman, who shamelessly attempts to gain him for herself; the weak king, whom others are attempting to topple from the throne; the faithful friend; and an antagonist who is almost but not quite a Machiavellian villain motivated solely by ambition. The hero is sometimes fortunate and prevails over all of the obstacles he encounters; at other times, he dies without any success other than preserving his love and honor.

The romantic excesses of heroic plays were satirized by George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, in his burlesque The Rehearsal (pr., pb. 1672), which has as its major character John Bayes, a brilliant satiric depiction of Dryden. Villiers parodies many of the absurd and inflated lines of Dryden and others who wrote in the form, yet The Rehearsal failed to drive the heroic drama from the stage. The genre remained viable for nearly two decades, until the late 1670’s, when the playwrights began shifting their efforts to a less flamboyant form of tragedy.

Aureng-Zebe

Aureng-Zebe, the last of Dryden’s heroic plays, was judged by him to be his best, though in the prologue he announced that he had grown weary of rhyme, an indication of his imminent shift to blank verse as the appropriate meter for serious drama. By comparison to Dryden’s earlier heroic dramas, Aureng-Zebe makes less use of song and dance and includes less rant and bombast, yet it clearly preserves the major elements of the genre.

Set in India at the time of the Mogul Empire, it derives events and characters from history, though Dryden freely alters the sources. The aging emperor, a stereotypical weak king, finds his throne challenged by several of his sons, the loyal Aureng-Zebe being an exception. Aureng-Zebe is depicted by his friend Arimant, governor of Agra, as “by no strong person swayed/ Except his love,” a hero of unshakable loyalty who hopes that he will attain the hand of the captive queen Indamora for his support of the emperor.

While Aureng-Zebe is tame by earlier standards of the heroic play, echoes of the swashbuckling, superhuman hero remain. In armed conflict, the hero defeats two rebellious brothers, Darah being the first, “Darah from loyal Aureng-Zebe is fled,/ And forty thousand of his men lie dead.” The threat represented by Morat, the ambitious villain of the play, is not so easily parried, for he has raised an immense force thus described by Abbas: “The neighb’ring plain with arms is coverd o’er;/ The vale an iron harvest seems to yield/ Of thick-sprung lances in a waving field.” The hyperboles, typical of the genre, suggest the physical threat posed by Morat; his character also serves as a foil to that of Aureng-Zebe, for he does not properly control his passions. Primarily motivated by a desire for power, he also wishes to abandon his faithful wife, Melesinda, for Aureng-Zebe’s beloved Indamora, who finds him repulsive. Further complications arise when the emperor falls passionately in love with Indamora, and the Empress Nourmahal, Aureng-Zebe’s stepmother and the “evil woman” of the play, conceives a strong passion for her stepson. Confronted with news of his father’s love for Indamora and his placing her under arrest, the hero accepts the challenge involving both his love and honor.

Aureng-Zebe finds himself threatened from many directions when he intercedes with the emperor and attempts to prevent the emperor’s petulant imprisonment of Nourmahal. No sooner has the emperor seen Nourmahal taken away than he summons the rebellious Morat with the intent of making him his heir, all because of Aureng-Zebe’s love for Indamora. Boldly entering unannounced, Aureng-Zebe attempts to end the alliance between the emperor and Morat by offering to disband his army if Morat will withdraw his forces from the city, leaving the emperor in control. Despite these peace-making efforts, the emperor orders Aureng-Zebe’s arrest when he will not renounce his love for Indamora. When Indamora pleads for Morat to spare the life of Aureng-Zebe, he demands her love in exchange, which she curtly refuses. The alliance between the emperor and Morat is broken when the emperor learns of Morat’s passion for Indamora. After Aureng-Zebe has been released through the efforts of Indamora and Arimant, Indamora finds great difficulty in convincing the jealous hero that she has remained faithful and has not betrayed him with Morat. Meanwhile, having lost the favor of the emperor, Morat rebels against him.

The outcome is obscured when Arimant, in a disguise that results in his being mistaken for Aureng-Zebe, is killed and Morat has to break off a long seductive speech to Indamora to quell an uprising. In the final battle, Aureng-Zebe leads the emperor’s forces to victory, and Morat, mortally wounded, manages to prevent his mother from murdering Indamora. Her violent passion frustrated, Nourmahal poisons herself, and the Emperor grants Aureng-Zebe both the state and Indamora.

In Aureng-Zebe, the characters who retain their honor reap the rewards of both love and honor, whereas those who do not control their passions and ambition encounter misfortune. The abruptness and violence of passions are appropriately accompanied by abrupt and violent actions in the play. A major difference between good and evil characters becomes the measure of control over passions, not the violence of the passion itself. Dryden’s characters, both the good and the bad, express themselves blatantly where sexual passions are concerned, a phenomenon not limited to the characters of the heroic plays.

All-for-Love-fight

All for Love

Of All for Love, his tragedy based on Shakespeare’s earlier great work Antony and Cleopatra (pr. c. 1606-1607), Dryden himself commented that he had never written anything “for myself but Antony and Cleopatra.” The drama reflects Dryden’s vision of tragedy, sometimes designated by critics as “heroic tragedy” to indicate certain similarities to the heroic play. The chief among Dryden’s works in the type include Oedipus, Troilus and Cressida, Don Sebastian, King of Portugal and Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero. Unlike the heroic plays, these are written in blank verse and their sources are Shakespearean or classical. They demonstrate fewer of the epic dimensions of the heroic play, and the heroes are more nearly realistic characters. Although Dryden succeeds more fully in presenting human emotions in these dramas, in part because the medium of blank verse is more suited to emotional expression, he achieves the effects of pathos and sentiment rather than pity and fear.

In All for Love, Dryden follows the dramatic unities of time, place, and action, which he regarded as ornaments of tragedy, though not indispensable. The hero, Antony, is presented on the final day of his life, which happens to be his birthday. Facing imminent defeat at the hands of Octavius, he encounters temptations to abandon the great passion of his life, Cleopatra, in order to prolong the contest or to minimize the consequences of the loss. Restrictions inherent in the dramatic unities result in characters that are not nearly so complex as those of the source, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra neither wavers in her devotion to Antony nor reflects at length on her role as queen, as she does in Shakespeare’s tragedy. Dryden’s Ventidius shares qualities drawn from Shakespeare’s character of the same name but also from Shakespeare’s Enobarbus, the devoted adviser who abandons Antony. Ventidius strives to deliver Antony from his passion for Cleopatra, while, at the same time, her servant Alexas is scheming with Cleopatra to keep Antony’s devotion.

Caught in the struggle between love and duty, Antony appears a weak hero. Ventidius first offers Antony, then under attack by Octavius, the support of twelve legions if he will abandon Cleopatra, pointing to this as a necessary condition since the legionnaires refuse to come to Egypt and insist that Antony join them to assume command. Seizing on this chance for victory, Antony agrees, only to change his mind when he receives a parting gift, a bracelet, from Cleopatra, who unexpectedly arrives to put her gift on his arm.

Ventidius next arranges for Antony to make an honorable peace with Caesar, leaving him with limited power, if he will return to his wifeOctavia. WhenOctavia appears with their two daughters, Antony is unable to withstand their pleas and agrees to return to her, dispatching Dolabella to deliver a farewell to Cleopatra. This episode reveals the flaws in Alexas’s and Ventidius’s calculations. Alexas reasons that Cleopatra may win Antony back by arousing his jealousy through Dolabella, whereas Ventidius assumes that jealousy will convince Antony that Cleopatra was worthless. Thus, both adversaries steer Antony in the same direction for different ends. The result is that Octavia becomes so distressed at Antony’s obvious jealousy over their reports that she leaves him. In return for Antony’s hostility and anger and after the loss of a battle at sea, Cleopatra sends word of her death, which Antony cannot bear. Following his selfinflicted mortal wound, he is taken to Cleopatra, whose death following his brings a sense of triumph.

Although scenes such as that between Antony and Octavia involve a generous amount of sentimentality, Dryden achieves in All for Love an intensity that is lacking in most of his plays, one whose emotional effects are not dissipated through digressions or loosely related subplots. The play reveals a tightly unified plot line in which characters’ motives and actions are influenced primarily by strong romantic love.

Don Sebastian, King of Portugal

Dryden’s tragedy Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, written after the Glorious Revolution, is his longest drama and, in the view of critics from Sir Walter Scott to Bruce King, his finest dramatic achievement. In the play’s preface, Dryden acknowledges that the players cut more than twelve hundred lines from the acted version. Though the play’s themes are universally appropriate for tragedy, it includes a closely related comic subplot, and it ends not with the death of the hero or heroine but with their retirement from the world of affairs. The play incorporates numerous qualities and dramatic techniques that Dryden employs elsewhere in his work and may be the most fruitful play to examine for clarifying his dramatic art.

The play is set in North Africa, where Don Sebastian, king of Portugal, and his allies have been defeated and captured after warring against the Moors. Sebastian’s chief desire is to marry the woman he loves, Almeyda, Christian queen of Barbary, also held captive. This he manages to do after the emperor Muley-Moluch has given him a measure of freedom so that Sebastian can attempt to win Almeyda’s hand for the emperor. Sebastian and Almeyda escape the emperor’s retribution for their marriage, because he is slain in a rebellion, but they do not escape fate. In the final act, they learn from the old counselor Alvarez, who has just been freed from captivity, that they are half brother and sister, having had the same father. The incestuousness of their relationship, unknowing though it was, forces them to part, with each retiring to a separate religious house.

The Moors are portrayed throughout the play as riven by factions, the chief threat being the effort of the emperor’s favorite, Benducar, to topple him from the throne, ostensibly in favor of the emperor’s brother, Muley-Zeydan, but in reality for himself. In this attempt, he involves the populace, the religious leader Mufti Abdalla, and Dorax, a Christian who has turned against Sebastian and has joined the Moors. Dorax later joins Sebastian, after the fall of the emperor, to defeat the uprising and restore worthy leaders to their places. A comic subplot involves the efforts of the Christian captive Don Antonio to flee the household of the Mufti with his daughter Morayma and his treasure, in much the same way that Lorenzo and Jessica flee Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (pr. 1604).

The exotic setting, the theme of heroic love, the stock characters, and the broils and warfare represent familiar themes and situations of Dryden’s dramas. Occasionally, one also finds in the dramas some exceptional improbabilities. In this play, for example, Dorax, having lost the confidence of the Moors, is poisoned by two of them, Benducar and the Mufti, but survives because each poison neutralizes the effect of the other. Yet Don Sebastian, King of Portugal illustrates other characteristics of Dryden’s dramatic art that are less obvious but more influential and significant: the theme of incest, actual or suppressed; anticlericalism; political satire and allusions; and scenes of reconciliation.

In Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, unwitting incest occurs between Sebastian and Almeyda after they are married, and such is their consternation when they discover they have violated the taboo that Sebastian believes suicide the only escape until Dorax dissuades him. The situation resembles somewhat that of Oedipus in the version of the old Greek drama that Dryden and Nathaniel Lee produced for the Restoration stage. It is as though love in Dryden is so exalted, wrought up to such a pitch, that introduction of the taboo acts to heighten it and make the plight of the lovers more poignant. In Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, the theme is counterbalanced by the story of Violante, who denied affection to the husband Sebastian had chosen for her and awaited for many years her beloved Dorax.

It is unclear why anticlericalism becomes such a prominent theme in the works of Dryden, though it seems plausible that his profound distrust and dislike of Puritan influence on political affairs may in part explain it. The Mufti represents the typical clergyman in Dryden, usually the object of satire in both the poems and the plays. He is ambitious, avaricious, sensual, officious, and usually hypocritical. The Mufti appears ridiculous in both political and personal affairs, becoming the object of humor and scorn. Dryden does not ridicule clergymen of the Church of England, but wherever he introduces a pagan, a Muslim, or a Roman Catholic religious figure, the character becomes the object of satire.

In its political theme, the play concerns betrayal and misappropriation of power. The emperor, having usurped the throne, discovers that he can trust no one, least of all Benducar, his closest adviser. Benducar incites the mob to rebellion, and they manage to defeat and kill the emperor, barbarously showing his head on a pike as that of a tyrant. Like a true Machiavellian, Benducar muses on the thesis that might makes right: “And I can sin but once to seize the throne; all after-acts are sanctified by power.” Such passages as this in Dryden’s plays, poems, and translations following the Glorious Revolution usually serve as oblique satire of the new monarchs, and his distrust of the judgment of the common people where political affairs are concerned is a recurring theme throughout his work.

A final characteristic of Dryden’s theater is evident in act 4, scene 3, often considered the most successful scene of the play. It depicts the intense quarrel of the two friends, Dorax and Sebastian, and their reconciliation. Dryden may have based this scene on the quarrel of Brutus and Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (pr. c. 1599-1600); similar scenes occur in other works of Dryden, notably in Troilus and Cressida and Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero. Although Dorax has fought on the side of the Moors, he defends and spares the life of Sebastian—so that he can kill him to exact his own revenge. He holds a powerful grudge because Sebastian did not adequately reward him for his prior service and awarded the hand of Violante to another courtier, Henriquez.

Facing an imminent fight to the death with Dorax, Sebastian explains that Henriquez had sought the hand of Violante first, that Henriquez had died defending Sebastian, and that Violante now waits for Dorax. Accepting Sebastian’s explanation,Dorax submits, is restored to favor, and promises that he will serve Sebastian as faithfully as Henriquez had done. In the final act, Dorax helps Sebastian bear manfully his sense of guilt and loss. Scenes of intense confrontation permit the dramatist to display a range of emotions in a brief space, as well as a heightening and diminution of passions. Dryden’s ability to capture such a range of tones compensates to a degree for his lack of a greater gift as a dramatist—the ability to show growth and development of his characters.

Principal drama
The Wild Gallant, pr. 1663, pb. 1669; The Indian Queen, pr. 1664, pb. 1665 (with Sir Robert Howard); The Rival Ladies, pr., pb. 1664; The Indian Emperor: Or, The Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, pr. 1665, pb. 1667; Secret Love: Or, The Maiden Queen, pr. 1667, pb. 1668; Sir Martin Mar-All: Or, The Feign’d Innocence, pr. 1667, pb. 1668 (adaptation of Molière’s L’Étourdi; with William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle); The Tempest: Or, The Enchanted Island, pr. 1667, pb. 1670 (adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play; with Sir William Davenant); An Evening’s Love: Or, The Mock Astrologer, pr. 1668, pb. 1671 (adaptation of Thomas Corneille’s Le Feint Astrologue); Tyrannic Love: Or, The Royal Martyr, pr. 1669, pb. 1670; The Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards, Part I, pr. 1670, pb. 1672; The Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards, Part II, pr. 1671, pb. 1672; Marriage à la Mode, pr. 1672, pb. 1673; The Assignation: Or, Love in a Nunnery, pr. 1672, pb. 1673; Amboyna: Or, The Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants, pr., pb. 1673; Aureng-Zebe, pr. 1675, pb. 1676; The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man, pb. 1677 (libretto; dramatic version of John Milton’s Paradise Lost); All for Love: Or, The World Well Lost, pr. 1677, pb. 1678; The Kind Keeper: Or, Mr. Limberham, pr. 1678, pb. 1680; Oedipus, pr. 1678, pb. 1679 (with Nathaniel Lee); Troilus and Cressida: Or, Truth Found Too Late, pr., pb. 1679; The Spanish Friar: Or, The Double Discovery, pr. 1680, pb. 1681; The Duke of Guise, pr. 1682, pb. 1683 (with Lee); Albion and Albanius, pr., pb. 1685 (libretto; music by Louis Grabu); Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, pr. 1689, pb. 1690; Amphitryon: Or, the Two Socia’s, pr., pb. 1690; King Arthur: Or, The British Worthy, pr., pb. 1691 (libretto; music by Henry Purcell); Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero, pr., pb. 1692; Love Triumphant: Or, Nature Will Prevail, pr., pb. 1694; The Secular Masque, pr., pb. 1700 (masque); Dramatick Works, pb. 1717; The Works of John Dryden, pb. 1808 (18 volumes)

Other major works
Poetry: Heroic Stanzas, 1659; Astraea Redux, 1660; “To My Lord Chancellor,” 1662; Prologues and Epilogues, 1664-1700; Annus Mirabilis, 1667; Absalom and Achitophel, Part I, 1681; Absalom and Achitophel, Part II, 1682 (with Nahum Tate); The Medall: A Satyre Against Sedition, 1682; Mac Flecknoe: Or, A Satyre upon the True-Blew-Protestant Poet, T. S., 1682; Religio Laici: Or, A Layman’s Faith, 1682; Threnodia Augustalis, 1685; The Hind and the Panther, 1687; “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day,” 1687; Britannia Rediviva, 1688; Eleonora, 1692; “To My Dear Friend Mr. Congreve,” 1694; Alexander’s Feast: Or, The Power of Music, an Ode in Honor of St. Cecilia’s Day, 1697; “To My Honour’d Kinsman, John Driden,” 1700.
Nonfiction: Of Dramatic Poesie: An Essay, 1668; “A Defence of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy,” 1668; “Preface to An Evening’s Love: Or, The Mock Astrologer,” 1671; “Of Heroic Plays: An Essay,” 1672; “The Author’s Apology for Heroic Poetry and Poetic License,” 1677; “Preface to All for Love,” 1678; “The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy,” 1679; “Preface to Sylvae,” 1685; A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire, 1693; “Dedication of Examen Poeticum,” 1693; “A Parallel of Poetry and Painting,” 1695; “Dedication of the Aeneis,” 1697; “Preface to Fables Ancient and Modern,” 1700; “Heads of an Answer to Rymer,” 1711.
Translations: Ovid’s Epistles, 1680; The History of the League, 1684 (of Louis Maimbourg’s Histoire de la Ligue); The Life of St. Francis Xavier, 1688 (of Dominique Bouhours’s La Vie de Saint François Xavier); The Satires of Juvenal and Persius, 1693; The Works of Vergil, 1697.

Bibliography
Archer, John Michael. Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India, and Russia in Early Modern English Writing. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001.
Bywaters, David. Dryden in Revolutionary England. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Hammond, Paul. John Dryden: A Literary Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
Hammond, Paul, and DavidHopkins, eds. John Dryden: Tercentenary Essays. Oxford, England: Oxford, 2000.
Owen, Susan J. Restoration Theatre and Crisis. New York: Clarendon Press, 1996.
Winn, James Anderson. John Dryden and His World. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987.
_______, ed. Critical Essays on John Dryden. New York: G. K. Hall, 1997.

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Categories: Drama Criticism, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, Literature, Theatre Studies

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