John Dryden - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Picture of John Dryden, seventeenth century English poet and dramatist.
John Dryden   (1631 - 1700)
Category:  English Literature
Born:  July 20, 1631
Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, England
Died:  April 29, 1700
London, England
Related authors:
Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Pepys, Thomas Shadwell
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John Dryden - LIFE STORIES
11/19/1692     Rhyme War: Shadwell vs. Dryden
On this day in 1692 the British poet and playwright Thomas Shadwell died. Shadwell wrote eighteen plays and became poet laureate but, as the Columbia History of English Literature puts it, "he enjoyed a popularity in his own day which is not easily explicable in ours." This is utter kindness compared to contemporary John Dryden, who enthroned Shadwell as "The King of Dullness."
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Mac Flecknoe
Plays: All for Love, Oedipus, Troilus and Cressida
by John Dryden, Maximillian E. Novak, George R. Guffey
anthology, drama
The Works of John Dryden: Poems, the Works of Virgil in English, 1697
by John Dryden, William Frost (Editor)
anthology, poetry
Works of John Dryden Poems, 1681-1684
by John Dryden, H. T. Swedenberg (Editor)
anthology, poetry
Works of John Dryden Prose, 1668-1691: An Essay of Dramatick Poesieand Shorter Works
by John Dryden, Samuel A. Monk (Editor)
anthology, essays
Works of John Dryden, Plays: The Wild Gallant, the Rival Ladies, the Indian Queen
by John Dryden, John H. Smith (Editor), Dougald MacMillan (Editor), Vinton A. Dearing (Editor)
anthology, drama
Works of John Dryden: Poems 1685-1692
by John Dryden, Earl Miner (Editor)
anthology, poetry
Works of John Dryden: Poems, 1649-1680
by John Dryden, Edward N. Hooker (Editor), H. T. Swedenberg (Editor)
anthology, poetry
Works of John Dryden: Poems, 1693-1696
by John Dryden, Vinton A. Dearing, Edward Niles Hooker
anthology, poetry
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Critical Essays on John Dryden
by James Anderson Winn (Editor)
criticism and analysis
Essential Articles for the Study of John Dryden
by H.T. Swedenberg
criticism and analysis
Homage to John Dryden: Three Essays on Poetry of the Seventeenth Century
by T. S. Eliot
John Dryden
by George Saintsbury
John Dryden: Tercentenary Essays
by Paul Hammond (Editor), David Hopkins (Editor)
criticism and analysis
Life of John Dryden
by C. E. Ward
Poetry of John Dryden
by Mark Van Dore
anthology, poetry
The Just and the Lively: The Literary Criticism of John Dryden
by Michael Werth Gelber
criticism and analysis
Tragic Theory in the Critical Works of Thomas Rymer, John Dennis, and John Dryden
by Joan C. Grace
criticism and analysis
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Find selected electronic texts, including:

  • "All for Love; Or, The World Well Lost," a tragedy

  • "Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern"

  • Bartlett's Dryden Quotations

  • Dryden's Translation of Virgil's Æneid

  • Selected poems ("Ah, how sweet it is to love!", "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day," "Hidden Flame," "Song to a Fair Young Lady"), and

  • a biography from the Cambridge History of English Literature
  • John Dryden, "MacFlecknoe," "Annus Mirabilis," Criticism
    Offers a short analysis and questions for classroom discussion.

    'MacFlecknoe' is the mocking Scottish form for 'son-of-Flecknoe,' and the character stands for Thomas Shadwell, whose pretention to be taken for the inheritor of Ben Jonson's poetic tradition Dryden skewers by making him the son of Richard Flecknoe, a poet even Shadwell would see was dull. Other characters represent contemporary or recent poets (Heywood, Decker, Shirley, Fletcher), or they are allegorical, part of the epic 'machinery of the gods' by which Dryden mocks Shadwell, making him inherit the throne of Nonesense...."
    John Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism
    A scholarly essay briefly reviews the contributions of Dryden to the art of literary criticism. With references to Samurl Johnson, Sir Philip Sidney, and contemporary studies of Dryden's works and theories (e.g., Robert Hume's Dryden's Criticism).

    "T. S. Eliot praised Dryden for being the first critic to pay attention to 'the native element' in literature and the language. Johnson called him the 'Father of English Criticism.' The importance of this immensely prolific writer, poet, playwright, critic, laureate, and hack journalist does not lie solely in the attention to English letters, which his literary-critical successors imply, but in the paying of attention to a native element in reading, in the siring of an idea of criticism as not foreign to the text."
    Samuel Johnson's Lives of the English Poets
    Find a selection of links to online resources, and Johnson's biographical notes, "Preface to Dryden":

    "Of the great poet whose life I am about to delineate, the curiosity which his reputation must excite will require a display more ample than can now be given. His contemporaries, however they reverenced his genius, left his life unwritten; and nothing therefore can be known beyond what casual mention and uncertain tradition have supplied...."
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