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Born:August 19, 1631England...(Show more)Died:May 12, 1700 (aged 68)LondonEngland...(Show more)Title / Office:poet laureate (1668-1689)...(Show more)Notable Works:“Absalom and Achitophel”“Annus Mirabilis”“Astraea Redux”“Aureng-Zebe”“Fables old and Modern”“King Arthur”“Mac Flecknoe”“Marriage à-la-Mode”“Of Dramatic Poesie, one Essay”“Religio Laici; or A Layman’s Faith”“Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen”“The conquest of Granada that the Spaniards”“The Hind and the Panther”“The Indian Emperour”“The Indian Queen”“The Medall”“The Wild Gallant”“To His sacred Majesty”...(Show more)Subjects that Study:literary criticism...(Show more)
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John Dryden, (born respectable 9 , 1631, Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, England—died might 1 , 1700, London), English poet, dramatist, and also literary doubter who so dominated the literary scene of his day that it became known as the period of Dryden.

Youth and education

The child of a nation gentleman, Dryden prospered up in the country. Once he to be 11 years old the civil War damaged out. Both his father’s and also mother’s family members sided through Parliament against the king, yet Dryden’s own sympathies in his youth room unknown.


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About 1644 Dryden to be admitted come Westminster School, where he got a predominantly classic education under the commemorated Richard Busby. His easy and also lifelong familiarity with classic literature started at Westminster later on resulted in idiomatic English translations.

In 1650 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, whereby he take it his B.A. Degree in 1654. What Dryden did in between leaving the university in 1654 and the repair of Charles II in 1660 is not known with certainty. In 1659 his contribution to a memorial volume because that Oliver Cromwell marked him as a poet precious watching. His “heroic stanzas” were mature, considered, sonorous, and also sprinkled through those classical and scientific allusions that identified his later on verse. This type of public poetry was constantly one the the points Dryden walk best.

When in may 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne, Dryden join the poets that the day in welcoming him, publishing in June Astraea Redux, a poem of much more than 300 currently in rhymed couplets. Because that the coronation in 1661, he created To His sacred Majesty. These 2 poems were designed come dignify and strengthen the monarchy and also to invest the young monarch through an aura the majesty, permanence, and even divinity. Thereafter, Dryden’s ambitions and fortunes as a writer to be shaped through his partnership with the monarchy. ~ above December 1, 1663, he married Elizabeth Howard, the youngest daughter of cutting board Howard, first earl of Berkshire. In due food she bore him three sons.

Dryden’s longest poem to date, Annus Mirabilis (1667), to be a celebration of 2 victories by the English fleet end the Dutch and the Londoners’ survival of the great Fire that 1666. In this occupational Dryden was once again gilding the imperial image and also reinforcing the ide of a loyal country united under the best of kings. It to be hardly surprising that as soon as the poet laureate, sir William Davenant, passed away in 1668, Dryden was appointed poet laureate in his place and also two years later on was appointed royal historiographer.

Writing because that the stage

Soon after his repair to the throne in 1660, Charles II granted two patents because that theatres, which had actually been closed by the Puritans in 1642. Dryden shortly joined the tiny band of dramatists who were writing new plays because that the revived English theatre. His first play, The Wild Gallant, a farcical comedy v some strokes that humour and a good deal the licentious dialogue, was developed in 1663. It to be a compare failure, however in January 1664 he had some re-superstructure in the success that The Indian Queen, a heroic tragedy in rhymed couplets in i m sorry he had actually collaborated with Sir Robert Howard, his brother-in-law. Dryden was soon to effectively exploit this new and well-known genre, v its conflicts in between love and honour and also its lover heroines before whose charm the blustering heroes sank down in awed submission. In the spring of 1665 Dryden had actually his own very first outstanding success with The Indian Emperour, a play that was a sequel come The Indian Queen.

In 1667 Dryden had another remarkable hit with a tragicomedy, Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen, i m sorry appealed specifically to the king. The component of Florimel, a gay and witty maid the honour, to be played to perfection by the king’s recent mistress, Nell Gwynn. In Florimel’s rattling exchanges with Celadon, the repair aptitude because that witty repartee got to a brand-new level that accomplishment. In 1667 Dryden likewise reworked because that the stage Molière’s comedy L’Étourdi (translated by wilhelm Cavendish, fight it out of Newcastle) under the title Sir boy name Mar-all.

In 1668 Dryden released Of Dramatick Poesie, one Essay, a leisurely discussion between four modern writers of whom Dryden (as Neander) is one. This work-related is a defense of English drama against the champions of both old Classical drama and also the Neoclassical French theatre; it is also an attempt to find general values of dramatic criticism. By deploying his disputants so as to failure the conventional oppositions of old and modern, French and also English, Elizabethan and Restoration, Dryden deepens and also complicates the discussion. This is the very first substantial item of modern dramatic criticism; the is sensible, judicious, and exploratory and also combines general values and analysis in a gracefully informal style. Dryden’s strategy in this and also all his ideal criticism is characteristically speculative and also shows the affect of detached scientific inquiry. The prefaces to his plays and translations over the next three years were to constitute a an extensive body of vital writing and reflection.

In 1668 Dryden agreed come write specifically for thomas Killigrew’s firm at the price of three plays a year and also became a shareholder licensed has been granted to one-tenth that the profits. Although Dryden averaged just a pat a year, the contract supposedly was mutually profitable. In June 1669 he offered the firm Tyrannick Love, v its blustering and blaspheming hero Maximin. In December of the following year came the very first part of The conquest of Granada through the Spaniards, adhered to by the second component about a month later. All 3 plays were extremely successful; and also in the personality Almanzor, the intrepid hero of The conquest of Granada, the layout of love and honour reached its climax. However the vein had now been nearly worked out, as watched in the 1671 manufacturing of that witty burlesque the heroic drama The Rehearsal, through George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, in i m sorry Dryden (Mr. Bayes) to be the main satirical victim. The Rehearsal did no kill the heroic play, however; together late together November 1675, Dryden staged his last and also most intelligent instance of the genre, Aureng-Zebe. In this play he exit the use of rhymed couplets for that of blank verse.

In composing those heroic plays, Dryden had actually been catering come an audience the was ready to it is in stunned right into admiration by drums and trumpets, rant and also extravagance, stage battles, affluent costumes, and also exotic scenes. His abandonment the crowd-pleasing rant and bombast to be symbolized in 1672 with his excellent comedy Marriage A-la-Mode, in which the Restoration battle of the sexes was offered a sophisticated and polite expression that only Sir George Etherege and also William Congreve in ~ their ideal would equal. Equally fine in a different mode to be his tragedy All for Love (1677), based upon Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and written in a flowing but controlled blank verse. He had earlier adapted The Tempest (1667), and later the reworked yet one more Shakespeare play, Troilus and also Cressida (1679). Dryden had now gotten in what might be referred to as his Neoclassical period, and, if his new tragedy was no without some echoes of the old extravagance, it to be admirably constructed, with the action developing naturally from situation and also character.

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By 1678 Dryden was at loggerheads through his fellow shareholders in the Killigrew company, which remained in grave difficulties owing come mismanagement. Dryden readily available his tragedy Oedipus, a teamwork with Nathaniel Lee, come a rival theatre company and ceased to be a Killigrew shareholder.