Full Text

Dryden and Restoration Satire

Dustin Griffin


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405119559.2007.00014.x


Extract

John Dryden (1631–1700) has long been regarded as the greatest of the Restoration satirists. His “Absalom and Achitophel” (1681) and “MacFlecknoe” (1682), routinely regarded as the best satires of the period, and commonly anthologized, are often the only Restoration satires that non-specialists know. But in fact Dryden was not primarily a satirist. In the eyes of his contemporaries, he was primarily a dramatist and poet laureate (who discharged those duties in both historical poems and panegyrics), and latterly a translator of Virgil, as well as of the Roman satirists Juvenal and Persius. His work in satire, apart from his translations, consists only of three poems: the aforementioned “Absalom and Achitophel” and “MacFlecknoe,” along with “The Medall” (1682). And Dryden took steps to de-emphasize his association with satire as a literary kind. “MacFlecknoe” was first published anonymously, and not claimed by Dryden for perhaps six years. Although “MacFlecknoe” and “The Medall” were identified on their title pages as “Satyr,” “Absalom and Achitophel” was called simply “A Poem.” Dryden was perhaps being disingenuous, and scholars often cite his own words that “Satire will have Room, where e'er I write” (“To Kneller,” line 94). But it remains true that satire constitutes but a small part of Dryden's canon, and that (for his contemporaries, if not for present-day readers) he was not ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:

 

     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.


[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top