Catalogue


Dryden in revolutionary England [electronic resource] /
David Bywaters.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1991.
description
xii, 196 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0520070615 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1991.
isbn
0520070615 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7896619
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 167-190) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"In my opinion, the best overall account of Dryden's later career that we possess . . . a new starting point for criticism of Dryden's later works. . . . The writing alone establishes the author's credibility as a plain-spoken man who has much to say and nothing to hide."--John Wallace, University of Chicago "Bywaters does nothing less than make late Dryden readable, readable for perhaps the very first time since the middle of the eighteenth century. . . . His will be the book that teaches teachers."--Carol Kay, New York University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-12:
Although Bywaters's book follows the course of Dryden's works from The Hind and the Panther to The Fables (including Don Sebastian, Amphitryon, The Discourse of Satire, the translation of the Aeneid, and the less-noticed King Arthur and Cleomenes), it is not a series of critical readings of these works; neither is it a biography of the later life of the poet nor a documentary or social history of the end of the 17th century. It is a study of the rhetorical strategies Dryden employed to create an authoritative public voice and an audience willing to listen to it after his conversion to Catholicism and his alienation from court. Bywaters charts the movement of this political rhetoric as it evolves from explicit critical statement (albeit beneath allegorical fable) to an allusive, digressive style that makes its political point by averting the potential interference of specific political reference. At the same time, Dryden claimed authority from his participation in a venerable literary tradition that transcends political activism. Bywaters's study is a valuable supplement to Steven Zwicker's Politics and Language in Dryden's Poetry (CH, Feb'85), and should become a standard reference in the study of Dryden's final period. Highly recommended.-G. R. Wasserman, Russell Sage College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1991
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Summaries
Long Description
In 1681, when he wrote Absalom and Achitophel, John Dryden was poet laureate and historiographer royal at the court of his patron Charles II, and the acknowledged champion of a successful political cause. Only a few years later, Dryden's conversion to Roman Catholicism, followed by James II's deposition for favoring Catholics, had cost the poet both his honors and his public. In no way, however, did Dryden accept the status of a political has-been. David Bywaters argues convincingly that this post-revolutionary phase of Dryden's career reveals a polemic as consistent as that of earlier periods. Dryden not only lived on in the country that had metaphorically cast him out but also remained a public literary figure, responding in his work to contemporary political changes. Between 1687 and 1700 he developed a subtle and powerful rhetoric in order to reconstruct his political and literary authority. Discussing both major and less-studied works, Dryden in Revolutionary England tells us much about the relation between politics and literature during a crucial, formative moment.
Main Description
In 1681, when he wrote Absalom and Achitophel, John Dryden was poet laureate and historiographer royal at the court of his patron Charles II, and the acknowledged champion of a successful political cause. Only a few years later, Dryden's conversion to Roman Catholicism, followed by James II's deposition for favoring Catholics, had cost the poet both his honors and his public. In no way, however, did Dryden accept the status of a political has-been. David Bywaters argues convincingly that this post-revolutionary phase of Dryden's career reveals a polemic as consistent as that of earlier periods. Dryden not only lived on in the country that had metaphorically cast him out but also remained a public literary figure, responding in his work to contemporary political changes. Between 1687 and 1700 he developed a subtle and powerful rhetoric in order to reconstruct his political and literary authority. Discussing both major and less-studied works, Dryden in Revolutionary Englandtells us much about the relation between politics and literature during a crucial, formative moment.

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