The Just and the Lively: The Literary Criticism of John Dryden

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Manchester University Press, 1999 - 342 pages
John Dryden is the father of English literary criticism. In The Just and the Lively, Michael Werth Gelber provides the first complete study of his criticism since Dryden's death almost three hundred years ago. Through a detailed reading of each of his essays, the book explains and illustrates the unity and the development of Dryden's thought. It demonstrates that, even as he based his first principles on his own poems and plays, Dryden tried to resolve what, since the early sixteenth century, had been a key problem in western literature: how to reconcile the demand of classical unity with the bewildering variety of Renaissance drama and romance. The figure who emerges from these pages is a man deeply responsive to the social, political, and intellectual currents of his age. An important influence on critics as diverse as Samuel Johnson and T. S. Eliot, Dryden retains the power to enlighten and delight the reader of today.

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Contents

ONE The ends of criticism
9
TWO From theory to practice 1664
22
THREE A French play 16651668
43
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About the author (1999)

Gelber teaches in the department of English at St. John's University

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