By Susan J. Owen
This 'Companion' illustrates the energy and variety of dramatic paintings 1660 to 1710. Twenty-five essays by means of top students within the box collect the easiest contemporary insights into the total diversity of dramatic perform and innovation on the time.
• Introduces readers to the new growth in scholarship that has revitalised recovery drama
• Explores ancient and cultural contexts, genres of recovery drama, and key dramatists, between them Dryden and Behn
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Additional resources for A Companion to Restoration Drama
Indeed, his criticism is so clearly different in content and tone than anything preceding it, critics since Samuel Johnson have honoured Dryden as their 'father'. According to Johnson, Dryden was 'the writer who first taught us to determine upon principles the merit of composition'. Even a cursory examination of Dryden's criticism seems to substantiate this claim: Dryden frequently gave his readers critical tools borrowed from Aristotle, contemporary French critics, et al. - and showed his readers how to apply these tools to the texts they read.
Nevertheless, they retain an important place in the history of English literary criticism. They constitute the first extended pamphlet debate about drama (pamphlet controversies would soon become a common form of critical discourse). And they show how the rapidly growing London book trade enabled literary nonentities to match wits with the leading dramatists of the day. The Rota pamphlets also represent the growing trend towards what would become one of the most popular genres of criticism during this period - burlesque criticism.
But it remains an excellent example of one critic's attempt to formalize critical practice, and combat the vogue for burlesque criticism with the soberness of didactic criticism. Collier and his supporters may have had little actual impact on how English comedy was written at the turn of the century; but the controversy sparked by A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage can tell us much about the state of dramatic criticism during this period. That a clergyman with no connection to the theatre could use dramatic criticism to attack the stage and confound the leading playwrights of the day shows just how unsettled the discipline of criticism was in late seventeenth-century England.
A Companion to Restoration Drama by Susan J. Owen