John Dryden

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Quarrel of the Moderns and the Ancients

"Those beauties of the French poesy are such as will raise perfection higher where it is, but are not sufficient to give it where it is not: they are indeed the beauties of a statue but not of a man" (Poesy Abridged). Dryden wrote this essay as a dramatic dialogue with four characters representing four critical positions. The four critical positions are ancients verses moderns, unities, French verses English drama, separation of tragedy and comedy verses tragicomedy and appropriateness of rhyme in drama (Brysons). Neander is in favor of the moderns but he respects the ancients, he also favors English drama while having critical views towards French drama. In "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" Dryden used character to represent four critical positions, but he cleverly disguised himself as one of them Throughout Dryden's "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" Neander is believed to represent Dryden's point of view on the different critical issues discussed. Living from 1631 to 1700 John Dryden was the leading literary figure of the Restoration ("John Dryden" Encarta). Dryden was an accomplished poet, playwright and critic. Speaking English, Latin and Greek Dryden was also a successful translator. Writing "Heroic Stanzas," a poem commemorating the death of Cromwell, Dryden secured a place in London's literary circles. After converting to Christianity under the Christian rule of James II, Dryden was appointed poet laureate where he later lost the title under the Protestant rule of William and

Mary (Selected Poetry). John Dryden was a neoclassic critic who's criticisms deal with issues of form and morality in drama (Brysons). Discussing four critical positions in his essay "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" Dryden uses four characters: Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius, and Neander. Neander is believed to portray the beliefs of Dryden while Lisideius and Crites are believed to have the reciprocal beliefs. Eugenius shares the view of...
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