An Overview An Essay of Dramatic Poesy gives an explicit account of neo-classical theory of art in general. Dryden is a neoclassic critic, and as such he deals in his criticism with issues of form and morality in drama. However, he is not a rule bound critic, tied down to the classical unities or to notions of what constitutes a "proper" character for the stage. He relies heavily on Corneille - and through him on Horace - which places him in a pragmatic tradition.
My Lord, As I was lately reviewing my loose Papers, amongst the rest I found this Essay, the writing of which in this rude and indigested manner wherein your Lordship now sees it, serv'd as an amusement to me in the Country, when the violence of the last Plague had driven me from the Town.
Seeing then our Theaters shut up, I was engag'd in these kind of thoughts with the same delight with which men think upon their absent Mistresses: I confess I find many things in this discourse which I do not now approve; my judgment being a little alter'd since the writing of it, but whether for the better or the worse I know not: Neither indeed is it much material in an Essay, where all I have said is problematical.
For the way of writing Playes in verse, which I have seemed to favour, I have since that time laid the Practice of it aside, till I have more leisure, because I find it troublesome and slow.
But I am no way alter'd from my opinion of it, at least with any reasons which have oppos'd it. For your Lordship may easily observe that none are very violent against it, but those who either have not attempted it, or who have succeeded ill in their attempt.
Yet, my Lord, you must suffer me a little to complain of you, that you too soon withdraw from us a contentment, of which we expected the continuance, because you gave it us so early. I know no other quarrel you can have to Verse, then that which Spurina had to his beauty, when he tore and mangled the features of his Face, onely because they pleas'd too well the lookers on.
It was an honour which seem'd to wait for you, to lead out a new Colony of Writers from the Mother Nation: The Court, which is the best and surest judge of writing, has generally allow'd of Verse; and in the Town it has found favourers of Wit and Quality.
As for your own particular, My Lord, you have yet youth, and time enough to give part of it to the divertisement of the Publick, before you enter into the serious and more unpleasant business of the world. The words, as near as I can remember them, were these: La jeunesse a mauvaise grace.
I leave the words to work their effect upon your Lordship in their own Language, because no other can so well express the nobleness of the thought; And wish you may be soon call'd to bear a part in the affairs of the Nation, where I know the world expects you, and wonders why you have been so long forgotten; there being no person amongst our young Nobility, on whom the eyes of all men are so much bent.
But in the mean time your Lordship may imitate the course of Nature, who gives us the flower before the fruit: As Nature, when she fruit designes, thinks fit By beauteous blossoms to proceed to it; And while she does accomplish all the Spring, Birds to her secret operations sing.
I confess I have no greater reason, in addressing this Essay to your Lordship, then that it might awaken in you the desire of writing something, in whatever kind it be, which might be an honour to our Age and Country.
And me thinks it might have the same effect upon you, which Homer tells us the sight of the Greeks and Trojans before the Fleet, had on the spirit of Achilles, who though he had resolved not to ingage, yet found a martial warmth to steal upon him, at the sight of Blows, the sound of Trumpets, and the cries of fighting Men.
For my own part, if in treating of this subject I sometimes dissent from the opinion of better Wits, I declare it is not so much to combat their opinions, as to defend my own, which were first made publick.
Sometimes, like a Schollar in an Fencing-School I put forth my self, and show my own ill play, on purpose to be better taught. Sometimes I stand desperately to my Armes, like the Foot when deserted by their Horse, not in hope to overcome, but onely to yield on more honourable termes.
And yet, my Lord, this war of opinions, you well know, has fallen out among the Writers of all Ages, and sometimes betwixt Friends.Tarvin 1 JOHN DRYDEN’S AN ESSAY ON DRAMATIC POESY: QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS This handout was prepared by Dr.
William Tarvin, a . II.
AN ESSAY ON DRAMATIC POESY 1. Using Kaplan and Anderson’s headnote on p. , briefly summarize their comments on the dramatic setting of the essay, what they call “a dramatization of a debate.” It opens with reference to a _____ battle between the British and _____ on June 3, , in the English Channel.
Full text of "An essay of dramatic monstermanfilm.com with notes by Thomas Arnold. 3d ed., rev. by William T. Arnold" See other formats. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy deals with the views of major critics and the tastes of men and women of the time of Dryden.
The work is in the form of semi-drama thus making abstract theories interesting. 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.
In addition to poetry, Dryden wrote many essays, prefaces, satires, translations, biographies (introducing the word to the English language), and plays.
“An Essay of Dramatic Poesy” was probably written in during the closure of the London theaters due to plague.