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Table of contents
- Studies in Criticism and Aesthetics, 1660-1800
- Selected Bibliography of Aesthetics
- Duplicate citations
- Found at these bookshops
- Selected Bibliography of Aesthetics
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Studies in Criticism and Aesthetics, 1660-1800
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First edition, hardback, bound in the original green cloth with a superb ornate John Leighton binding. John Leighton came from a family of binders as well as being an illustrator under the name Luke Limner. His bindings are wonderfully high Victorian intense gilt designs. This one features Old Father Thames, with sea creatures, insignia and leaf patterning. Unfortunately, we know nothing about the person who presumably commissioned the picture, Samuel Newton d.
The obvious supposition, that Gainsborough was invited to the manor at King's Bromley to paint members of the Newton family, is not tenable, as no portraits have come down to us. Until we have more information about Gainsborough's movements and patrons in these years, the mystery must remain unsolved. John Hayes.
Mary Woodall, ed. The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough.
Bradford, , no. But Pointon , p. Howard Anderson and John S. Shea Minneapolis, , p. Ellis K. London, , p.
Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R. Edited by E. Philadelphia, , vol. London, , vol. Gainsborough and His Place in English Art. As one of Dryden's defenders summarized his intellectual reputation in the early twentieth century, his mind was thought to be "neither sincere nor significant nor interesting. A major obstacle in this revaluation was the lack of verifiable evidence with which to investigate his life, particularly the controversial matters of his religious and political conversions.
Since little direct information about his life was available, researchers relied on the knowledge and opinions of Dryden's enemies.
At the end of the nineteenth century there was little hope that additional, unbiased information would come to light. George Saintsbury despaired: "There is now little chance of fresh information being obtained about the poet, unless it be in a few letters hitherto undiscovered or withheld from publication. Since SaintsburyTs time, the work of many scholars has made available new information about Dryden's life. Careful investigations of family and public records have revealed new facts about Dryden's life, among them: his genealogy , , , the date of his birth , the correction of the notion that he attempted to secure a position at Oxford , , , , 3: , the dates of his appointment as poet laureate , and as historiographer royal and the truth about his funeral , , , , Moreover, invaluable reference sources for future students of Dryden were provided by Hugh Macdonald , who established a bibliography of Dryden's works and Drydeniana, and by James M.
Osborn , who identified facts and problems in Dryden's life as he surveyed the Dryden biographies from Thomas Birch's to the biographical notes of George Thorn-Drury and, in a revised edition, the most recent biography by Charles E. It is also useful to study the interaction of Dryden's life and works with those of his contemporaries: Lee , Etherege , Rochester , , , Buckingham , , Behn 3: , Settle , Wycherley , Shadwell , , Tate , Howard , , Sedley , Dennis , Davenant , Tonson , and Congreve , , The details of these lives and others may yet yield additional information about Dryden's daily activities, about which we know too little.
However, even if new facts are not forthcoming, the work of Fredson Bowers , Vinton A. Bower's discovery of the cancellandum leaf A3 in King Arthur shows that Dryden had originally made reference to being offered a restoration of the laureateship, if he would receive the Anglican communion. Since Dryden did not accept the offer, the cancellandum leaf may be regarded as further evidence of the strength of Dryden's convictions and of the sincerity of his conversion. However, while a study of bibliographical information may reveal ways in which Dryden revised his work, Vinton A.
Dearing notes that such studies are not practical until detailed, comprehensive collations of manuscript material and of editions published in Dryden's lifetime are readily available. As Louis I. Bredvold noted in , tracing Dryden's intellectual development was all but impossible because "most of our data remain too vague chronologically to establish any definite stages in the development of his thought. Ward's biography , published in , provided that chronology, and it is not by accident that the majority of studies which analyze Dryden's shifts in thought have appeared since Ward also put an end to the attacks on Dryden's character which often.
The importance of Ward's biography is not, however, simply in its accumulation of verifiable information, important though that was. His work is a model of methodological scrupulousness. Throughout the biography Ward carefully notes the sources of his information, whether from tradition or from documentary evidence.
Selected Bibliography of Aesthetics
Moreover, he explains not only what has been authenticated about Dryden's life, but what had been mistakenly believed in the past. When confronted with a lack of documentation, Ward takes particular care to indicate the point at which he leaves off analyzing data and begins conjecturing about motivations or reactions. When, for example, the important matter of Dryden's failure to write an epic is considered, Ward notes, "No doubt the reasons for his abandonment of the plan are complex and beyond our interpretation until new sources of information are forthcoming.
It may be assumed that the King's lack of tangible encouragement was a factor, but. In discussing Dryden's responses to the Popish Plot, for instance, Ward argues that Dryden remained "a poet and a playwright: despite the distractions of the political scene, his work was writing. Yet, this view unnecessarily divorces literature and politics in a period in which the two were inseparably joined. Rather than remaining aloof from the turmoil of the Exclusion Crisis and the Popish Plot, Dryden thoroughly immersed himself in those controversies and wrote some twelve works which directly commented on the Crisis and the Plot.
Dryden's vision of a providentially mandated. Dryden, like other public poets, refined his ideas about society and about the ways in which literature should function in society by participating in controversies of great importance. Unfortunately, another limitation of Ward's biography is his acceptance of Louis I. Bredvold's thesis that Dryden was a follower of Pyrrhonism. As a result, Ward presents Dryden as not only a fideist, but as an anti-rationalist who denied the ability of reason to participate in religious truth.
Yet Ward's acceptance of Bredvoid's thesis was in accord with the general critical opinion of the time. It is probably natural that basic ideas developed by certain individuals have set the tone for Dryden studies in general, but the consequences of this fact have been far-ranging and often detrimental. Bredvold's thesis, although it has not enjoyed as long a currency, was as casually accepted, even though his evidence, like Macaulay's, lacked real substance. In his book, published in , Bredvold responded to a demand, frequently heard in American scholarship of the s, for an improved historiography in the study of seventeenth-century English literature.
Many scholars had demonstrated the need to know the historical background of works from the Restoration, given their topical nature. Moreover, as Raymond D. Grierson for having failed adequately to investigate the seventeenth-century meaning of "enthusiasm" before he analyzed trends in the intellectual development of the period, and F. Bateson characterized his contemporaries as antiquarians rather than historians of English literature.
Their concern, he said, was with reproducing the past, not with understanding it. However, Bredvold's historiography differed from that advocated by Havens, Williamson and Bateson, because, like Basil Willey , he did not seek just to recover contemporary definitions or the facts of topical contexts; rather, he sought to explain Dryden's attitudes and practices by identifying the milieu or intellectual background of the age, which, Bredvold maintained, is composed of "representative ideas of the age, growing out of the dominant temper of the age, which happened also to be the temper of Dryden himself.
The points of agreement between Montaigne and Dryden, about which Bredvold made so much, are only those of superficial resemblance. They could both call themselves skeptical, but Montaigne distrusted the New Science and Dryden praised the Royal Society. Although Bredvold investigated some historical material in his search for Dryden's milieu, he did not look closely enough into the immediate context of Dryden's works.
Bredvold's thesis was immediately accepted by most Dryden scholars, although George Williamson , Moody E. Prior and R. Crane, in a review of an earlier article , objected that Bredvoid had confused "a cautious form of rationalism," in Williamson's words, with anti-rationalism. The noble intention of Bredvold's study was to redress three commonly held preconceptions regarding Dryden's intellectual abilities: "that Dryden was a hireling, whose political and religious affiliations were determined by bribes and pensions; that in his most serious work he never rose intellectually above the level of ephemeral journalism; and that the inconsistencies and contradictions with which his work abounds are conclusive evidence of a lack of intellectual character and significance.
By establishing a philosophical milieu for Dryden, Bredvold successfully focused attention on "the content of Dryden's work, his cast of mind, and his intellectual equipment. Yet, in his study there is often a tone of condescension: "His contact with philosophical skepticism enabled him to rationalize his natural diffidence of temper. Though he has no claim to originality as a thinker, he did possess a loose group of ideas and philosophical doctrines which he understood and to which he felt himself affined. In an important and witty article, Henry Knight Miller points out that early twentieth-century literary historians such as Bredvold failed to recognize the extent of their debt to postRomantic conceptions of art.
However, where Bredvold presented Dryden as slavishly, unimaginatively collecting ideas from other writers, more recent critics see Dryden as cleverly and aggressively adapting the arguments of others to his own use. Although Bredvold had intended to sketch the background of Dryden's thought, both religious and political, the greatest influence of his study was in its arguments about the impact of skepticism on Dryden's religious beliefs.
Although Elias J. Harth addressed himself to correcting errors of fact and of method in Bredvold's work. Throughout his book, published in , Harth demands that Dryden's arguments about the "respective claims of reason and revelation" be investigated within their controversialist and poetic contexts.
As a result of Harth's work, the study of Dryden's religious and philosophical thought has entered a new period of development which is characterized by an improved method in the study of the historical backgrounds of Dryden's works. If Dryden's personal reputation did not fare well at the hands of his contemporaries and his nineteenth-century critics, his artistic reputation also suffered.
Hazlitt, Arnold, Rossetti and Pater denied Dryden's right to be called a poet, because the subjects and the style of his verse were not those appropriate for poetry. His work lacked sublimity, passion and excitement, and he was too preoccupied with public subjects. Pope shared in this denigration. Together they were announced as important in the history of English literature for their refinements of prosody while at the same time they were denounced as perverters of the true poetic spirit.
To Arnold they were "not classics of our poetry, but classics of our prose. John B. Henneman , surveying Dryden's reputation in , noted that the odes "make Dryden's name a household word in English poetry," but his other nondramatic works, criticism and plays were virtually unknown, being "largely mere material for the historian and special student of literature.
Cecilia's Day. The emphasis given to Dryden's odes reflects a general preference among nineteenth- and early twentieth-century critics for lyric rather than for epic poetry. Henry Knight Miller points out that the post-Romantic preference for lyric poetry led to a denigration of Restoration and eighteenth-century poetry. Accordingly, Dryden's narrative poetry was rarely studied except in passing and his satiric poetry was often looked upon unfavorably.
Previte-Orton 4: , writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, the satires were simply evidence that Dryden was "but a hireling after all" and were reprehensible because Dryden had placed his superior talents at the disposal of a degenerate, anti-democratic monarch.
Verrall's Lectures on Dryden , published in , was the first major revaluation of Dryden's work in the twentieth century. Few of Verrall's contemporaries had his acute sense of the breadth of Dryden's achievement. He understood the importance of narrative poetry to Dryden's poetic ambitions, and he was careful to indicate the Restoration response to Dryden's work, even when that response was quite different from his own.
Moreover, though his discussions invariably refer to Dryden's life, he does analyze individual works at length. By his careful selection, Verrall ensured that his audience would have a sense of the scope of Dryden's works. His discussions of Dryden's epistles and odes, other than those for St. Cecilia's Day, brought to public attention works which had been ignored by other critics. In considering a poem such as Absalom and Achitophel, Verrall appreciated the fact that Dryden's readers would have immediately recognized the comparison between David and Charles II, but given his knowledge of the historical background he could only conjecture that the comparison was "probably common in sermons.
His fullest discussions are devoted to examinations of prosody. It remained for Mark Van Doren to provide a major review of Dryden's works. His book, published in , continued to be the most comprehensive treatment of Dryden's works until the s, and his influence on Dryden studies was substantial.
Van Doren hoped to revitalize Dryden's reputation by presenting a comprehensive view of his experiments, achievements and failures in poetry.
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Although there is a good deal of biographical material in his study, his focus is on Dryden's artistry and not on his life. He surveys the areas in which Dryden excelled: occasional verse, the lyric, the verse character, narrative. His greatest praise is for Dryden's use of the heroic couplet and for his place in the history of prosodic refinement.
Van Doren blames Dryden's faults on his having followed "false lights'1: Hobbes's separation of reason from fancy, the rhetorical theories of the age, misconceptions about the relationship of painting to poetry, the neoclassic theory of the "general," and a fatuous musicality learned from Waller. Van Doren also agreed with Samuel Johnson that Dryden did not understand human passion and thus made a bathetic mess of heroic action in his plays.
Because he always had an eye to Dryden's nineteenth-century critics, Van Doren scrupulously identified areas of weakness in his poetry in order to disarm Dryden's detractors. Though he clearly liked Dryden's work, he did not want to be called a partisan who approved whatever Dryden wrote, regardless of the quality.
Van Doren significantly affected the course of Dryden studies by the summary categorization he gave to Dryden's artistic inclinations: "Dryden was most at home when he was making statements. His poetry was the poetry of statement. At his best he wrote without figures, without transforming power. He condescended to them, brought to them richer stores of thought and melody than were adequate.
Although a recent study by K. Hamilton seeks to use the term "poetry of statement" to advantage, the wide acceptance of this view inhibited the development of many fruitful areas of investigation which have only recently been pursued. Van Doren accomplished much with his study, yet finally his view of Dryden is neither entirely correct nor satisfying.
One must wonder at a revaluation which includes the observation that Dryden "was not adept in psychological research, or refined, or especially true; he could be slovenly and gross; but he was never limp or lame. The commendation T. Eliot afforded Van Doren's study advanced its reputation and lent considerably to its influence. Dryden's verse appealed to Eliot because he found there a discipline and a sense of tradition which he thought might help reform modern poetry. Yet for all his praise of Dryden, Eliot finally agrees that Dryden's is a poetry of statement, which though it satisfies by the "completeness of the statement" is deficient in suggestiveness.
Dryden should be read, Eliot says, as his work "is one of the tests of a catholic appreciation of poetry. In the s, s and s valuable research was pursued into the influence of native and foreign writers on Dryden's poetry, his relationship to Milton, and the topical contexts of his occasional verse. During these important years, scholars who studied the earlier seventeenth century and the Restoration provided much needed information regarding the literary traditions, historical events and intellectual developments which were part of Dryden's world.
In particular, historical studies of the cultural, political, religious and economic life of late seventeenth-century England advanced rapidly during this period. The result of these investigations was a perspective which allows Dryden to be seen in terms which he would have recognized. It might have been expected that close textual readings, advocated by the New Critics, would have been used to examine Dryden's poetry, yet his works did not easily lend themselves to this approach.
By their topical nature, Dryden's poems demand an analysis of their extra-textual references. Mac Flecknoe has sufficient independence to be considered apart from its historical context, but the unavoidable fact of its topical references proves that there is no good reason for doing so. Before World War II there were few extended analyses of Dryden's imagery, manipulation of tone and use of biblical material. Most studies of his poetry at this time provided annotations of unfamiliar allusions, examined his prosody and investigated questionable attributions to his canon.
A number of important historical studies which explored the relationship between individual works and their topical contexts were published during this period. In , however, Wallace C. Brown's examination of the poem's imagery and prosody, for all its insight, fails to consider the historical material which Davies makes clear must be looked at in any explication of the poem. It remained for scholars such as H. Swedenberg, Jr. Sutherland, Jr. They developed a procedure of explicating Dryden's arguments and use of images, symbols and allusions by referring to the works of his contemporaries, and this procedure became a model for later critics.
Swedenberg thus explains Dryden's attacks on the mob in Astraea Redux by referring to similar attacks made by Thomas Pecke, Henry Oxenden and Alexander Brome, and Sutherland argues that The Medall cannot properly be understood without a prior examination of the images which were "common to the pamphleteers and the poets" of the time. The advantages of this combined approach are amply evidenced in the work of Earl R. The work of Bernard N. Schilling's study of Absalom and Achitophel is the most sustained explication of the poem to date.
By explaining Dryden's use of the conservative myth and the ways in which Dryden created meanings in the poem, Schilling seeks to defend it against accusations that it is too drawn out, that there is too little imagery, that the resolution is too abrupt and that the disproportion between the King's friends and his enemies is unjust. Alan Roper investigates Dryden's use of metaphoric analogy in his poetry, while Zwicker focuses on Dryden's use of typology in the political poetry.
Besides providing a very useful survey of the tradition of seventeenth-century figural exegesis, Zwicker defends Dryden against those who see his poems as lacking unity. By revealing the ways in which traditional typological interpretations created connections between contemporary events and providential history, Zwicker demonstrates that a poem such as Astraea Redux has a unity which is not always apparent to the modern eye, but which would have been immediately recognized by Dryden's seventeenth-century reader. These studies and others have demonstrated Dryden's achievement in precisely those areas which earlier critics attacked.
Macaulay and Christie had demeaned Dryden's participation in the political controversies of his day as the slavish hackwork of an able writer in the service of a repressive king. Twentieth-century critics have been less severe in their strictures on Charles II's court, but Dryden's service as historiographer royal has still been taken as a sign of an inferior or, at best, a misused talent. Now, however, as a result of historically-based studies, Dryden's transformation into art of the established values of his society is seen to have intellectual validity and aesthetic power.
The book-length studies of Arthur W. Hoffman and Earl Miner established the quality of that art and thereby corrected the strictures of Bredvold and Van Doren. Arthur W. Hoffman in particular saw Van Doren's view of Dryden as somewhat "defensive and seemingly ungenerous," especially in his pointing out "the worst" in Dryden's work. Hoffman's book was the first comprehensive survey of Dryden's writings since Van Doren's.
In it Hoffman combined a consideration of the historical background with a close reading of individual poems and focused on the complexity of Dryden's imagery as it blends references from classical especially Virgilian and biblical especially messianic materials. Earl Miner's book on Dryden's poetry is a work of major importance. In this lengthy and detailed study, Miner investigates Dryden's view of history, analyzes individual poems and establishes a public-personal paradigm which is at the root of Dryden's concerns.
He also considers Dryden's use of metaphor, his rhetorical strategies in complex works such as Absalom and Achitophel, his use of different genres and his prosodic variations. Miner looks at Dryden's works with the goal of uncovering his controlling ideas and concerns. Although Bernard Schilling's examination of Dryden's conservative views provided a precedent, Miner's study has a much larger scope.
Implicitly Miner seeks to revaluate the older notion which saw Dryden as being, in Arthur Hoffman's words, "a victim of occasions. Miner discounts this idea entirely and argues instead that Dryden was an artist of considerable intellect and poetic talent who pursued his concern with the divergence between public and private values through different genres. The influence of this perspective has been substantial. Miner's study marks another shift in Dryden studies.
There had been a tendency among those who investigated the contexts of Dryden's works to concern themselves either with the literary traditions or with the intellectual background of the works. Miner synthesizes these two contexts, taking care to explain the topical occasion, the pertinent literary traditions and the intellectual currents which might have influenced his treatment of certain themes or subjects. Paramount to Miner's study is the desire to establish the seventeenthcentury nature of Dryden's work.
The guiding principle behind Miner's analysis has been excellently described by Phillip Harth , whose own work in establishing the doctrinal and controversialist contexts of Religio Laid exemplifies the same procedures: "An exact discrimination of the political, as of the religious, ideas in Dryden's poems and plays depends on an acquaintance with the works he is likely to have known when he was writing them, and with the entire range of opinion offered him by those works.
Without that knowledge we cannot understand Dryden as his contemporaries once did. The reputation of Dryden's translations has also benefited from the improvement in historiography. Joseph M. The most important responsibility and the most difficult task for the translator is "maintaining the Character of an Author, which distinguishes him from all others, and makes him appear that individual Poet whom you would interpret. Of all Dryden's translations, the Fables have recently been the subject of increased study and appreciation. In the "connection of the separate fables" Miner found a design which gave a unity, though not a completely integrated unity, to the whole.
Judith Sloman finds that integration in the fact that like Ovid's Metamorphosis there is a linking of the various parts of the Fables so that the individual poems comment on one another. The movement through the collection marks a progress from a point of turbulence to a consideration of more ideal modes of behavior and experience and, finally, to a return in Cymon and Iphigenia to "the physical world of unpredictable events and characters swayed by an arbitrary succession of passions.
Given Samuel Johnson's praise of Dryden's critical writings, that attention is not surprising. Yet, it is surprising that no fulllength study in English of his criticism was published until This was the result of a number of complex factors, one of the more important of which was the influence of William Bohn's essay, written early in the twentieth century. Bohn's concern was largely defensive. He wanted to correct the view, popularized by Macaulay, that Dryden's prefaces and dedications were merely evidence of obsequiousness and that the inconsistencies in his critical writings were unreconcilable and indicative of an inferior intellect.
Bohn interpreted the occasional quality of the prefaces and dedications in a different way. To Bohn the inconsistencies modern critics detected only affirmed the fact that Dryden was a professional artist who needed to appeal to the tastes of his audience if he were to be successful. The critical opinions advanced by Dryden were those which would have won favor in the court. After when he was out of favor, however, Dryden developed a less conservative position, which actually more accurately reflected his own thinking.
Although Bohn's defense of Dryden can be hardly said to vindicate him adequately as a critical theorist, it did present a detailed chronology which was persuasive. Only within the past few decades has that chronology been questioned. The majority of scholars who wrote after Bohn did not seek to view Dryden's critical writings as a whole and 14 A SURVEY OF DRYDEN STUDIES thus they implicitly accepted Bohn's five-stage development thesis ; instead they concentrated on aspects of his criticism: his ideas on satire , , tragedy , , , , comedy , , , , translation , , , the heroic poem , and farce ; definitions of important terms such as "fancy" , , , "imagination" , , , , , "wit" , , , , , , , and "imitation" , , , ; his attitude towards the rules , , , , So that investigations of particular terms or genres might be pursued more easily, John M.
Aden published a dictionary and H. James Jensen compiled a glossary of Dryden's critical terms. The extent to which Dryden was indebted to others for his critical ideas has been a subject of continuing concern in Dryden studies. The influence on Dryden's critical writings of Horace, Longinus, Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian has been studied , , , 7: , , , , , as has the influence of native English writers , , , , , , 7: , , In the past it has been a mainstay of modern criticism to emphasize Dryden's indebtedness to French neoclassic critical theory.
Dryden's own acknowledgment of his debts to LeBossu, Corneille and Rapin in The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, for example, indicates that this is a fruitful subject of study. Unhappily, however, the examination of the sources of his critical opinions has too often been conducted in the light of attacks made against Dryden.
Martin Clifford's accusation in that Dryden plagiarized the work of the Abbe d'Aubignac, Mesnardiere and Corneille in writing Of Dramatic Poesy has frequently been used as a starting point in the analysis of Dryden's indebtedness. The study of Dryden's use of French criticism has helped place his work in the broad context of European critical thought; yet a simple identification of sources may serve more to obscure than to illuminate Dryden's critical positions.
As John M. Aden insisted in a series of articles , in the early s, there is a great deal of difference between "influence," meaning the "persuasion to a viewpoint," and "borrowing," meaning plagiarism or the simpleminded use of the ideas of others. Dryden's borrowing from Boileau, St. Evremond and Corneille had long been an axiom of Dryden studies until Aden's articles.
The work of Frank L. Huntley , Richard V. Dryden does not slavishly follow, nor does he simply reject, Corneille 's position on the rules. In Of Dramatic Poesy all four of the speakers either refer to or employ ideas from Corneille's criticism in support of their arguments. A concern that Dryden's critical opinions are frequently inconsistent has appeared to motivate some of the investigations into the sources of his ideas, as with the attempts to provide definitions of important terms in his critical vocabulary.
One way to account for that inconsistency has been simply to argue that Dryden was not intelligent enough to have formulated a coherent theory of criticism. To James Routh Dryden is not inconsistent but a conformist who was swayed by the ideas of others or by current fashions, and to Mark Van Doren and to Louis I. Bredvold "changeableness is beyond dispute one of the dominant characteristics of his mind.
As John Sherwood points out, the question of Dryden's inconsistency actually involved two different areas of concern: "on the one hand, it is supposed that his principles varied from time to time; on the other hand, it is assumed that his judgments on particular works are inconsistent with the neo-classical principles or 'rules' to which he generally adheres. What some have taken as evidence of sloppiness, Monk saw as a sign of Dryden's flexibility. Dryden, unlike Rymer, refused to allow his criticism to harden into a rigid system. Likewise it is true that while there may be inconsistencies in his use of particular terms, "imitation" for one , in his criticism he is consistent in his larger beliefs and preferences.
It should also not be forgotten that when Dryden was writing, literary criticism, as a formal and distinct discipline, was only just beginning. It was fairly conventional in the past to quote from Dryden's critical writings without specifying the preface or dedication from which the quotation was taken. A citation to W. Tacitly there was the assumption that Dryden's critical opinions did not change or develop, that his individual works could be discussed collectively. The work of John M. Aden and Robert D. Hume , has conclusively demonstrated that Dryden's critical writings can be accurately discussed only if they are considered individually, if they are placed in their topical historical and biographical contexts and if they are related to the works they preface.
In the only book-length study of Dryden's criticism, Robert D. Hume focuses on topics which have continually plagued discussions of Dryden's criticism. Hume's chapter on the relationship between Dryden and Rymer clarifies a difficult problem of influence. His discussions of the meaning or lack of meaning of the term "neoclassicism" in reference to Dryden's criticism and of the stability of Dryden's critical premises are particularly helpful, both in their isolation of problems and in the solutions presented.
Ultimately, however, Hume's book must be seen as a preparatory study, much as James M. Osborn's Biographical Facts and Problems prepared the way for a full-fledged biography. There is still an evident need for an analysis of Dryden's criticism which would study each of the critical works, as Samuel Holt Monk said in , "in relation to the work to which it is attached and to the critical temper of the moment," as well as to Dryden's life and to relevant historical events.
Among his contemporaries Dryden was best known for his dramatic works. His comedies, heroic plays, tragicomedies and operas established trends which others followed, and his plays enjoyed the patronage of Charles II and most of the court. Recent critics have not, however, been enthusiastic about Dryden's dramatic works. Dryden's comedies, while still generally respected, have become to many simply a source of examples of commonly used motifs, themes and plots. The absence of Dryden's works from those numbered as "the first modern comedies" by Norman Holland was not greatly objected to.
The comedies had been praised early in the twentieth century by A. Apparently their reputation as mere hackwork and, even on Dryden's own authority, as being inferior to his other plays and nondramatic work had led scholars to neglect them. Important work has also been done on the sources of Dryden's plays. Ever since the accusations of Gerard Langbaine, scholars have been faced with the difficult problem of identifying the extent of Dryden's indebtedness to other dramatists.
These studies have yielded helpful results. By comparing Dryden's plays with those from which he borrowed we are better able to understand Dryden's methods of composition. There are also insights to be gained from knowing which elements Dryden excised and which he expanded. The placement of Dryden's dramatic works in their literary and historical contexts has been a major area of study.
This approach was encouraged by Dryden himself, who in his critical prefaces and dedications often made connections between his own work and dramatic traditions in England and those on the continent. The background of the heroic play, in particular, has been studied by many scholars. In the early part of the twentieth century, a debate began about the origin of the heroic play, whether it was a native English form, indebted to Beaumont and Fletcher and the Cavalier drama, or a derivative of Continental forms, indebted to the French romances and the heroic poem.
As a result of the analyses of Moody E. Sarup Singh sees the heroic play as not only different from Elizabethan tragedy but as a reaction against it. By Dryden's own estimation, repeatedly voiced in his prefaces and dedications, the heroic play had a tremendous potential to reform as well as to entertain. Not all critics see the heroic plays as Dryden apparently did. Explaining the heroic drama in terms of a "comic" thesis, D. The problem with this view is that it can only be completely accepted if we are willing to take Dryden's critical prefaces and dedications as disingenuous.
Selected Bibliography of Aesthetics
Robert D. Hume , on the other hand, along with others, has related Dryden's use of the heroic play to his commitment to heroic values. In fact, Hume speculates that Dryden stopped writing heroic plays precisely because they had become debased by authors such as Elkanah Settle. Dryden had hoped that the spectacle of the heroic play would encourage his audience to emulate the noble acts and sentiments of his characters, but by the mids, around the time of Aureng-Zebe, he realized that the spectacle itself had captured his audience's attention.
As might be expected, Dryden's All for Love, his adaptation of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, has received a great deal of attention from modern critics. Considered by many to be his best play, although Don Sebastian and Aureng-Zebe are now respected as its rivals, All for Love has been the subject of continuous discussion from Verrall's lectures to Earl Miner's Dryden's Poetry. Unfortunately, only recently has Dryden's play been considered separately from Shakespeare's. Limitations of space prevent a more detailed summary of all the works which had added to our understanding of Dryden's best adaptation, but those works in the present bibliography which have asterisks placed before them should be consulted with particular attention.
Jean H. Hagstrum has profitably considered the play in the context of the ut pictura poesis tradition, as he argues that the play is a "speaking picture" in which the audience is presented with a "gallery" of heroic portraits. Countering the accusation that the play's language is merely decorative and fustian, Derek W. The improvement of Dryden's modern reputation has been effected as much by the availability of reliable, well-annotated editions as it has been by advancements in his biography and the publication of important critical works.
Noyes had taken care to provide good texts and sufficient annotations to make Dryden accessible to twentieth-century students. Kinsley published the most accurate texts then available, and he arranged the poems chronologically by date of publication, thereby allowing Dryden's development and shifting concerns to be readily seen.
Dryden's prose has presented formidable editorial problems. The great bulk of his critical writings has made a complete edition of his prose works an expensive and difficult project. They often provide only excerpts and their texts are modernized. Editions of individual plays have been plentiful. In L. Beaurline and Fredson Bowers published four of Dryden's comedies and four tragedies in a two-volume companion set. The texts and annotations are well prepared and readily adaptable to classroom use. Facsimile editions of individual poems and plays and Of Dramatic Poesy have also allowed students to experience Dryden's works as they appeared in his own lifetime.
At present, about half of the projected twenty volumes of The Works of John Dryden have been published. It has been contemplated that after all twenty volumes have become available a computer-produced concordance will be prepared. The critical and textual commentaries in these volumes continue to maintain the exceedingly high standards established for the series by its originators, Edward Niles Hooker and H. By his painstaking meticulousness, the chief textual editor, Vinton A. Dearing, has ensured that the texts present as accurately as possible Dryden's originals.
As this survey has shown, we have learned a great deal about Dryden in the past three-quarters of a century. For information about facsimile editions, the topical index and the Addendum should be consulted. These critics and others have shown that Dryden's works must be placed in their literary, historical and biographical contexts if they are to be fully understood and appreciated.
Moreover, it has also become increasingly evident that all of Dryden's works must be considered together. Too much of twentieth-century criticism has compartmentalized Dryden's work in the different genres. David Nichol Smith and George R. Wasserman attempted to survey all of Dryden's works, and they made an effort to interrelate his work in the various genres, but their studies are too brief and could not adequately treat a subject of such tremendous complexity.
Should a comprehensive study of Dryden's career ever be completed, we will surely learn a great deal not only about John Dryden but about the nature of literature in general and about its uses in a literate society. New York: Gordian Press, Waller, eds. The Cambridge History of English Literature. New York: G. Putnam; Cambridge: At the University Press, George Sampson. The 17th and 18th Centuries Studies Group, U. Landa, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, Dryden: A Collection of Critical Essays.
Twentieth Century Views. Englewood Cliffs, N. Dryden's Mind and Art. Essays Old and New 5. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, Restoration Drama: Modern Essays in Criticism. John Dryden Writers and their Background. Bell, Includes chronological tables which corollate the main events of Dryden1s life with those events of literary, intellectual and historical importance. Dramatists] Miner, Earl, ed. Restoration Theatre. Stratford-Upon-Avon Studies 6. London: Edward Arnold, Hamden, Conn. See items , , , , , , , Francis R.
Johnson, Marjorie H. Nicolson, George B. Parks, George Sherburn and Virgil K. Stanford: Stanford University Press, See items , , , , Essential Articles for the Study of John Dryden. Bibliography and Canon Abstracts of English Studies. A monthly excepting July and August abstract of journal publications. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, Crane Compiled for "Philological Quarterly". Foreword by Curt A. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Cambridge: Modern Humanities Research Association. An annual bibliography. Addenda to Macdonald. George Watson.
Cambridge: At the University Press, New Haven: Yale University Press, The Age of Dryden. Goldentree Bibliographies in Language and Literature. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Hugh G. Dick, pp. Brack, Jr.
- Binding, John.
- Library Catalogue;
- Books by Samuel Holt Monk?
- Congress Volume Ljubljana 2007 (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum).
- Lotties Luck.
Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, The Indian Emperour. Includes Dryden's Miscellanies. See item London: The Library Association. An annual bibliography of materials published in journals. Library School Bulletin 1. Wellington: Library School, A Bibliography of English Poetical Miscellanies Bibliographical Society.
Oxford: At the University Press, Report of the Second Decade