He believes, too, that subplots enrich a play; he finds the French drama, with its single action, thin. There ought to be one action, says Corneille, that is one complete action which leaves the mind of the Audience in a full repose: He was not onely a professed Imitator of Horace, but a learned Plagiary of all the others; you track him every where in their Snow: Those indeed were objects of delight; yet the reason is the same as to the probability: Intense human feeling is, Neander feels, an essential part of drama.
I have taken notice but of one Tragedy of ours, whose Plot has that uniformity and unity of design in it which I have commended in the French; and that is Rollo, or rather, under the name of Rollo, The Story of Bassianus and Geta in Herodian, there indeed the Plot is neither large nor intricate, but just enough to fill the minds of the Audience, not to cloy them.
Generally, however, Dryden is recognized as someone who in his time was an extremely popular literary figure, who believed in religious moderation, and who influenced heavily the tastes of his age. Although it is clear that Dryden uses Neander as a mouthpiece for his own views about drama, he is careful to allow his other characters to present cogent arguments for the literature of the classical period, of France, and of Renaissance England.
I must therefore have stronger arguments ere I am convinc'd, that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other; and in the mean time cannot but conclude, to the honour of our Nation, that we have invented, increas'd and perfected a more pleasant way of writing for the Stage then was ever known to the Ancients or Moderns of any Nation, which is Tragicomedie.
Thus their drama is really an imitation of life. Because, Crites believes that the moderns do not create something new but just changing the appearance. Major Works Apart from the encomiums or complimentary poems of his early years, Dryden is well-known for his satirical verse.
French drama raises perfection but has no soul or emotions as it primarily focuses on plot. Lastly, the Catastrophe, which the Grecians called lysis, the French le denouement, and we the discovery or unraveling of the Plot: I see, said he, Eugenius and I are never like to have this Question decided betwixt us; for he maintains the Moderns have acquir'd a new perfection in writing, I can onely grant they have alter'd the mode of it.
A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes.
Now the Plots of their Plays being narrow, and the persons few, one of their Acts was written in a less compass than one of our well wrought Scenes, and yet they are often deficient even in this: This I intimate, least any should think me so exceeding vain, as to teach others an Art which they understand much better than my self.
It was an honour which seem'd to wait for you, to lead out a new Colony of Writers from the Mother Nation: And, with a sly glance at the Unity of Place, he describes the scenery moving around two motionless characters as they endlessly declaim.
We neither find it in Aristotle, Horace, of any who have written of it, till in our age the French Poets first made it a Precept of the Stage.
See Dryden's "Defense of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy"where Dryden tries to persuade the rather literal-minded Howard that audiences expect a play to be an imitation of nature, not a surrogate for nature itself.
By deliberately and comprehensively refining language, Dryden developed an expressive, universal diction which has had a profound impact on the evolution of speech and writing in the English-speaking world. If Ben Jonson is a genius for correctness, Shakespeare excels him in wit. The Essay was written while Dryden was out of London in flight from the plague.
His judgments have often been quoted for their perceptivity. But one Oedipus, Hercules, or Medea, had been tollerable; poor people they scap'd not so good cheap: More significantly, although he was a practitioner of the modern form of writing plays himself, Dryden does not insist that the dramatists of the past are to be faulted simply because they did not adhere to methods of composition that his own age venerated.
A Play which has been frequented the most of any he has writ? But this hinders not that there may be more shining characters in the Play: But since I have otherwise a great veneration for him, and you, Eugenius, prefer him above all other Poets, I will use no farther argument to you then his example: Neander goes on to defend English Drama and tragicomedy.
Another merit of the Essay pointed out by Professor Saintsbury is that it demonstrates Dryden's scholarship, wide reading and originality. Although the theological viewpoints in them are disparate, critics have observed that both these works forcefully document the poet's personal reactions to the political milieu as well as to the power of religious faith in his era.
Eugenius, more optimistic, disagrees and suggests that they pass the remainder of the day debating the relative merits of classical and modern literature.
In the following years, Dryden continued to publish politically oriented poems, of which the most notable are Astraea Redux and Annus Mirabilis: Aristotle indeed divides the integral parts of a Play into four: That praise or censure is certainly the most sincere which unbrib'd posterity shall give us.
As Crites begins his defense of the classical drama, he mentions one point that is accepted by all the others: Cecilia's Day, and Alexander's Feast.
So that to judge equally of it, it was an excellent fifth Act, but not so naturally proceeding from the former. She has the breeding of the Old Elizabeth way, for Maids to be seen and not to be heard; and it is enough you know she is willing to be married, when the Fifth Act requires it.An Essay of Dramatic Poesy.
By John Dryden. Introduction. Though he died inJohn Dryden is usually considered a writer of the 18th rather than the 17th century. Incredibly prolific, Dryden made innovative advances in translation and aesthetic philosophy, and was the first poet to employ the neo-classical heroic couplet and quatrain in his.
Essay of Dramatic Poesie is a work by John Dryden, England's first Poet Laureate, in which Dryden attempts to justify drama as a legitimate form of "poetry" comparable to the epic, as well as defend English drama against that of the ancients and the lietuvosstumbrai.comations: Fables, Ancient and Modern ().
In dramatic literature: Western theory in English is John Dryden’s Of Dramatick Poesie, an Essay ().
Dryden approached the rules with a refreshing honesty and argued all sides of the question; thus he questioned the function of the unities and accepted. In the Essay of Dramatic Poesy (), a major critical work, Dryden sought to “claim the honor of our English writers.” He also wrote comedies, as well as the best tragedy of the day, All for Love (), a neoclassical version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.
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John Dryden’s Of Dramatic Poesie (also known as An Essay of Dramatic Poesy) is an exposition of several of the major critical positions of the time, set out in a semidramatic form that gives.Download