• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In this paper I am going to deal with Dryden and his essay Preface to the Fables.

Extracts from this document...


JOHN DRYDEN The epoch associated in England with the name of Augustan or Classical was an age of dominant intellectualism, a hard and sterile period. Dryden and Pope were the two prominent literary figures who lived during this age and carried out innovations in the field of literature. In this paper I am going to deal with Dryden and his essay Preface to the Fables. Samuel Johnson in his Lives of the Poets says Dryden's " contemporaries, however they reverenced his genius, left his life unwritten; and nothing therefore can be known beyond what casual mention and uncertain tradition have supplied". Thus much details about Dryden's life is not known except he was born on August 9, 1631, at Aldwincle near Oundle, as the son of Erasmus Dryden of Tichmersh . Johnson further says that " Dryden may be properly considered as The Father of English Criticism, as the writer who first taught us to determine upon the merits of composition". Even great critics from Santisbury to T.S. Eliot acknowledged this. Though Dryden tried his hand in other forms of literature like poetry and drama and equally excelled in them, he is best known for his political satire and literary criticism. Energy and driving force, the English virtues are indeed, a general merit of the verse of Pope and Dryden says Sri Aurobindo in his The future of Poetry.The poetry of Dryden is vigorous and forceful. ...read more.


Thus his work "began to swell into a little volume.He then took up some marvellous works like The Hunting of the Boar , Cinyras and Myrrha and Baucius and Philemon. Dryden feels proud to note that his translated versions of the works match the original ones in their beauty. He also says that translating with precision "is not the talent of every poet". Dryden recognizes George Sandys as the best translator of the Elizabethan Age. While translating the tales of Ovid, Dryden was suddenly reminded of Chaucer who resembled the Roman poet in many ways. Dryden with the intention of honouring his native country decided to give his readers a modern version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. When the works of both Ovid and Chaucer are presented to the reader in their modern outlook the reader will be able to carry out the right assessment. Boccacio came to his mind when Dryden was translating Chaucer. Dryden says Boccacio and Chaucer also resembled each other. Boccaio like Chaucer wrote novels in prose and works in verse .He invented the Octave Rhyme just like Chaucer who invented the Rhyme Royal. Both of them refined their mother tongues. All these things led him to include Chaucer and Boccacio in his major work. Dryden has also included some of his original composition and he requests the reader to make the correct judgement of his work whether equal or inferior to the rest. ...read more.


Neither Chaucer nor Ovid was original in their writings. They borrowed materials form their predecessors. However Dryden says Chaucer was not without originality. His characters Baucius and Philemon and pilgrims of the Canterbury Tales are above ground and truly Chaucer's own invention. Dryden calls Chaucer the father of English poetry out of veneration. As to the crude and primitive language of Chaucer is concerned, Dryden asserts that perfection can not be expected from a pioneer. The greatest merit of Chaucer's art is restrain .Dryden also presents some of the basic facts about Chaucer's life in this essay. Chaucer has clearly picturized the fourteenth century England in his Canterbury Tales. Realism is the essence of his work.Chaucer gives prime importance to the nature and external features of his characters.Chaucer's characters are varied in their manners and humours.They belong to different strata. Even the low characters like the Reeve , the Miller are appealing in their own way. Dryden finally proclaims "here is God's plenty'apropos Chaucerian works. Dryden then says there has been considerable opposition against him for translating Chaucer.Dryden classifies his opposers into two groups. The first group look upon Chaucer as a " dry old fashioned wit" unworthy of translation. Dryden asserts that the brilliance of Chaucer has diminished due to the passage of time and requires polishing. The second group are those who object translation out of veneration for the classic. Dryden stresses the necessity of translation lest ancient writers should be totally neglected due to the unintelligibility of their language. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Fragmentation in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

    that The Waste Land is not only made up of pieces, but that they were also written over a considerable length of time."2 The full extent of Ezra Pound's influence when editing also became apparent, with almost half of the poem cut.

  2. Are fairytales 'just' stories for children? Refer to at least two tales in ...

    This introduces the topic of the rise of technology in today's society. For example children today watch far more television than adults did when they were children, and don't read as much as they should, therefore they are less likely to enjoy the written tales that adults may appreciate as

  1. What is the Merchant like?

    This also reveals the Merchants disdain for the clergy, as these biblical references would have been promoted by the church. Whether or not January represents him can still be questioned. However, "Chaucer creates an original aesthetic vehicle...to express the cynicism of the Merchant-narrator, whose consciousness of the difference between words

  2. Medieval Literature 2, Testament of Cresseid: To what extent should the planetary gods be ...

    It can certainly be seen, then, that this physical downfall is the fault of the gods, since they are responsible for inflicting Cresseid with leprosy, although it is her blasphemy which causes them to do so. However, I would suggest that more important than this physical downfall is the moral

  1. Write an essay on the variety of ways in which Chaucer treats the subject ...

    view of love in contrast, and once again continues the love debate in his own fashion and pattern ("And let him care and wepe and wringe and waile"- "Weping and wayling, care and other sorwe"). The Host then once again comes interrupts, and requests to turn the debate away from

  2. 'Langland's Piers Plowman greatly influenced The Canterbury Tales'. Discuss, with particular reference to estates ...

    The church claimed to be the only route to salvation, and as this was an incredibly important factor in fourteenth century thought. People were becoming increasingly suspicious of the clergy's ability to absolve sins for a small fee. This is evident in Piers Plowman from the comment, 'Go, confesse thee to som frere and shewe hym thi synnes.

  1. How do Bennett and Chaucer present women in their texts? Refer to 'The Outside ...

    seems quite resentful of her husband, as she is treated like it is her duty as a wife to obey her husband. She does not refer to Stuart by name, and by repeatedly using the pronoun 'he,' she shows him no recognition, intensifying her resentment of her husband, and the distant relationship the two characters have.

  2. The satirically reasonable voice of Desiderius Erasmus.

    Furthermore the purpose of the works of Erasmus appears on the surface to intend to criticize and poke fun of people such as clergymen and scholars. However, he wanted to humiliate them into changing the "ridiculous" into the "rational" (Rabil, 76).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work