Dryden and Pope in the Early 19th Century

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Cambridge University Press, 1962 - Literary Criticism - 244 pages
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It is still widely believed that in 1798 English literature became 'romantic' overnight. This is not so, of course: the Lyrical Ballads appeared almost unnoticed, and for many more years the prevailing patterns of taste seemed hardly challenged by any innovations. Indeed it was only from the 1830s onwards that 'romanticism' became the new othrodoxy. Dr Amarasinghe's book studies the main plank in the platform of the old attitudes: respect for the poetry of Dryden and Pope and the associated values. He shows a curious process: a change from convinced or idolatrous endorsement of Augustan verse and thought, via the perception in Dryden and Pope of 'romantic' elements, to their eventual dismissal as 'classics of our prose'. Incidentally, one sees how other poets, especially the Elizabethan dramatists, were revalued in the process. This neatly conducted argument is a model survey of how changes in literary taste are brought about. This particular change, from the 'line of wit' through the 'fairy way of writing' to full-blown romanticism was one of the most momentous in English literary history and this book helps the reader to see it more clearly and accurately.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Editions of Dryden
9
The Edinburgh Review
63
The Quarterly Review
93
Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine
117
The Pope Controversy and the Minor
130
AntiAugustan Criticism
137
ProAugustan Criticism
177
Editions of Johnson
217
Bibliography
225
Index
231
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