John Dryden 1631/1700

Barbara10Broek By Barbara10Broek, 21st Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

This is a short biography of John Dryden, a medieval poet.


Dryden lived in a time of political and religious turmoil and his own beliefs seemed to shift with the times. Coming from a family with Puritan and anti-Royalist leanings he began his literary career in 1659 with a poem in praise of Cromwell. After the Restoration the next year he came out in favor of the Anglican Church and the monarchy by publishing a poem in praise of Charles II. When the crown became catholic with the accession of James II in 1685 Dryden became a convert to Catholicism. One of his most celebrated poems, The Hind and The Panther, was a defense of the Catholic religion. He remained a Catholic after the Protestants William and Mary came into power three years later. He lost the royal pensions and offices he had held. From then on he had to depend entirely on his pen for a living.

Dryden wrote poetry, verses, satires, and literary criticism but his chief source of income was from the stage. One of the most prolific dramatists of the Restoration he produced comedies, tragedies, and heroic plays for the newly opened theaters. His best play was All for Love, a version of the story of Antony and Cleopatra. He also translated Vergil, revised Chaucer, collaborated on an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and made Paradise Lost, into an opera.

Dryden was one of the first writers to break away from the extravagant style of the late metaphysical poets and to write in a more restrained and natural style. The heroic couplet he used in many of his satires and plays became the dominant poetic style for a century.

Selected List of famous works:

• Astraea Redux, 1660
• The Wild Gallant (comedy), 1663
• The Indian Emperour (tragedy), 1665
• Annus Mirabilis (poem), 1667
• Secret Love, or The Maiden Queen, 1667
• An Essay of Dramatick Poesie, 1668
• Tyrannick Love (tragedy), 1669
• The Conquest of Granada, 1670
• The Assignation, or Love in a Nunnery, 1672
• Amboyna, or the Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants, 1673
• The Mistaken Husband (comedy), 1674
• Aureng-zebe, 1675
• All for Love, 1678
• Oedipus (heroic drama), 1679, an adaptation with Nathaniel Lee of Sophocles' Oedipus
• The Spanish Fryar, 1681
• Religio Laici, 1682
• Threnodia Augustalis, 1685
• The Hind and the Panther, 1687
• Creator Spirit, by whose aid, 1690. Translation of Rabanus Maurus' Veni Creator Spiritus King Arthur, 1691


Author, John Dryden, Medieval, Medieval Times, Poet, Poetry, Writer

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21st Jul 2011 (#)

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
21st Jul 2011 (#)

Very interesting. Thank you.

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