John Dryden

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Dryden, John,

1631–1700, English poet, dramatist, and critic, b. Northamptonshire, grad. Cambridge, 1654. He went to London about 1657 and first came to public notice with his Heroic Stanzas (1659), commemorating the death of Oliver Cromwell. The following year, however, he celebrated the restoration of Charles II with Astraea Redux. In 1662 he was elected to the Royal Society, and in 1663 he married Lady Elizabeth Howard. His long poem on the Dutch War, Annus Mirabilis, appeared in 1667. The following year he became poet laureate. He had a long and varied career as a dramatist. His most notable plays include the heroic dramas, The Conquest of Granada (2 parts, 1670–71) and Aurenz-Zebe (1675); his blank-verse masterpiece, All for Love (1677), a retelling of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra; and the comedy Marriage à la Mode (1672). His great political satire on Monmouth and Shaftesbury, Absalom and Achitophel, appeared in two parts (1681, 1682). It was followed by MacFlecknoe (1682), an attack on Thomas Shadwell, and Religio Laici (1682), a poetical exposition of the Protestant layman's creed. In 1687, however, Dryden announced his conversion to Roman Catholicism in The Hind and the Panther. The preceding poems, as well as his Pindaric odes, "Alexander's Feast" and "Ode to the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killigrew," place him among the most notable English poets. With the accession of the Protestant William III, Dryden lost his laureateship and court patronage. Throughout his life he wrote brilliant critical prefaces, prologues, and discourses, dealing with the principles of literary excellence. The best example is his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668). The last part of his life was occupied largely with translations from Juvenal, Vergil, and others. A 21-volume edition of his complete works was begun in 1956 under the general editorship of E. N. Hooker and H. T. Swedenberg.


See biographies by C. E. Ward (1961) and J. A. Winn (1987); studies by L. I. Brevold (1953), M. Van Doren (1920, repr. 1969), J. and H. Kinsley, ed. (1971), A. C. Kirsch (1965, repr. 1972), E. Miner, ed. (1973); J. M. Hall (1984).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dryden, John


Born Aug. 7, 1631, in Aldwinkle All Saints, Northamptonshire; died May 1, 1700, in London. English poet, dramatist, and critic; one of the founders of English classicism.

During the English bourgeois revolution Dryden eulogized Cromwell in an ode on his death (1658), while during the Restoration he glorified the monarchy in the satirical poem Absalom and Achitophel (1681). The best of Dryden’s tragi-comedies are Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen (1668) and Love Triumphant (1694); his greatest heroic plays are The Indian Emperor > or the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards (1667) and The Conquest of Granada (1672). Dryden’s best poetic work is the ode Alexander’s Feast, or the Power of Music (1697; Russian translation by V. A. Zhukovskii), which was put to music by G. F. Handel.


Works, vols. 1-18. Edinburgh, 1882-93.
Poems, vols. 1-4. Oxford, 1958.
Literary Criticism. Lincoln [1966].


Verkhovskii, N. P. “Draiden i Shekspir.” Uch. zap. LGU. Seriia filologicheskikh nauk, 1944, v. 9.
Istoriia zapadno-evropeiskogo teatra, vols. 1-2. Edited by S. S. Mokul’skii. Moscow, 1956-57.
Essential Articles for the Study of John Dryden. Hamden, Conn., 1966. (Bibliography on pp. 586-87.)
Miner, E. Dryden’s Poetry. Bloomington-London, 1967. (Bibliography on pp. 327-34.)
Davison, D. Dryden. London, 1968. (Bibliography on pp. 147-49.)
Macdonald, H. John Dryden: A Bibliography of Early Editions and of Drydeniana. [London] 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Zwicker, editor of The Cambridge Companion to John Dryden (2004), gives us, with no evidence, a subtler version of Macaulay's canard: "Prizes were rumored for Dryden, and pressure exerted, so that the laureate might see his way to a spiritual awakening." Hind, he writes, is Dryden's "remarkable, nearly impenetrable, script of Roman Catholic conversion"--the telling word script expressing the old suspicion that Catholics just do what they're told.
El presente articulo se aproxima a The Indian Queen de John Dryden y Henry Purcell no tanto desde una perspectiva musicologica, cuanto historica y literaria.
(1) James Anderson Winn, John Dryden and His World, New Haven and London, 1987, 311-14; W.
John Dryden's The Maiden Queen offers this line: "I am resolved to grow fat and look young till 40." Why till 40?
(17) John Dryden cited the classical prototype, Horace, as "best Judge and almost the best Poet in the Latine Tongue," and John Dennis, in the dedication to his Advancement and Reformation of Modern Poetry (1701) insisted that "there never was a great Poet in the World, who was not an accomplis'd Critick." John Dennis, in turn, was often cited as both a good writer and a good critic.
1 'Dedication of The Spanish Friar', Essays of John Dryden, ed.
Later literature that deals with aspects of Absalom's life includes John Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel and Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country.
This action was satirized by John Dryden in the poem Absolom and Achitophel, in which Shaftesbury is depicted as the villain.
He brought poetic insight to such critical works and biographies as Henry David Thoreau (1916), The Poetry of John Dryden (1931), Shakespeare (1939), Nathaniel Hawthorne (1949), and The Happy Critic (1961).
He was a prolific and versatile writer; his works include the critical biographies Henry David Thoreau (1916), John Dryden (1931; revised 1946), Shakespeare (1939), and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1949); numerous anthologies; Collected Stories (1962, 1965, and 1968); and several novels.
Sunday's Open on Lookout was won by John Nelson with 69lb 5oz, ahead of John Dryden with 51lb 3oz and Martin Craig with 47lb 3ozs.