Dryden's Final Poetic Mode: The Fables
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988 - 239 páginas
Two months before he died, Dryden published a collection of verse translations and original poetry, Fables Ancient and Modern, the work for which he was most admired throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cedric Reverand argues that Fables, which has for the most part escaped modern scrutiny, embodies a purposeful, subversive strategy, and constitutes a new poetic mode that emerged when the laureate, public spokesman for king and country, lost his official post and became an outcast, a minority voice.
In Dryden's Final Poetic Mode, Reverand focuses on Dryden's characteristic concerns--love and war, power and kingship, the heroic code, the Christian ideal--tracing how Dryden assembles informing ideals and yet dissolves them as well. By examining Dryden's treatment of familiar issues, Reverand demonstrates that this final poetic mode is not discontinuous with the earlier poetry bill is a further development, a reevaluation of the principles that sustained the poet throughout his career.
Fables expresses Dryden's personal experience dealing with a changed and changing world. With the values he cherished crumbling, he is trapped into trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. His book reveals the fragility of various systems of value and the futility of discovering abiding ideals in a universe of perpetual flux, but it also reveals a poet who actively pursues meaning rather than surrendering to despair.
It is this attempt to accommodate to a changing, subversive world that Reverand asserts is the impulse behind Fables and the central issue of Dryden's life in the1690s. Dryden's Final Poetic Mode will interest students and scholars of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature.
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