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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

John Dryden has long been central to accounts of eighteenth-century satire. This chapter asks how such accounts have come to be written, and whether there may be new ways of mapping this aspect of the poet, critic, translator, and controversialist. Indeed, one of the chapter’s aims is to question the inevitability of Dryden’s acquiring a reputation as a satirist, both in his own time and in the centuries following. Though we associate the Stuart laureate most closely with the imperial coolness of Absalom and Achitophel, such mastery and control was gained through countless literary skirmishes over the previous two decades. Before we can understand Dryden as satire’s master, this chapter proposes, we must understand him first as its victim.

Keywords: John Dryden, Sir Robert Howard, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, Thomas Shadwell, satire, mimicry, literary history

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