John Dryden, Volume 10
Dryden's poetry is straightforward, bold, and energetic. He was in the public eye for some forty years, holding positions at court for a long period of time. He was indisputably perceived as the leading writer of his day. He excelled in all the types of writing practiced at the time. He wrote more, and in more genres than anyone. He accumulated to himself (it is a odd distinction) a huge mass of attacks, ranging from the reasoned to the scabrous. Dryden explained his attitudes and intentions in a large number of prologues, epilogues, prefaces, defences, and vindications-thereby quite casually producing the first body of what we now call 'criticism' in English. And yet his life and character remain something of a mystery.
To John Hoddesdon on his Divine Epigrams I
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