Dryden and the Traces of Classical Rome

Dryden and the Traces of Classical Rome

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This book examines the uses which Dryden makes of Latin in his poetry and his critical writing, firstly through quotation and allusion, and secondly through formal translation. The first half explores the paradox that Dryden's sense of himself as a modern English writer is often articulated by means of a turn to classical Latin, while the contemporary English nation is conceptualized through references to ancient Rome. The second half offers readings of Dryden's translations from Horace, Juvenal, Lucretius, Ovid, and Virgil, culminating in a long essay on Dryden's Aeneis. Dryden used translation from the Latin poets as a way of exploring new territory: in the public sphere, to engage with empire and its loss, and in the private world, to contemplate selfhood and its dissolution. In following the varied traces of Rome in the texture of Dryden's writing, and by emphasizing his continual engagement with mutability and metamorphosis, this book argues the case for Dryden as a thoughtful, humanistic poet.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 139.7 x 215.9 x 22.1mm | 557.93g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 7 plates
  • 0198184115
  • 9780198184119
  • 1,737,638

Table of contents


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Review quote

Admirable in its range, sensitivity, and imagination. International Journal of the Classical Tradition His book couches its insights in Derridean terms, but its influence is likely to be felt far beyond the bounds of theory, for the peculiar tone of early neoclassical Britain has never perhaps been more sympathetically understood. Years Work in English Studies The personal and public use Dryden made of Latin in his poetry is extensively and painstakingly explored in this rich book, especially for the light thrown upon the way in which contemporary Englishness is conceputalised through references to ancient Rome. Literature & History Paul Hammond's account of the use of Rome by the seventeenth-century poet and the allusions which fall, sometimes misquoted in Dryden's work, provide a valuable addition to our understanding of Dryden the poet and his intellectual context. Literature & History This learned, engaging, and beautifully written book represents a giant step forward in our understanding of Dryden's deployment of Latin Literature. James A. Winn, Review of English Studies

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