Laurels Won and Lost
This chapter considers the implications of the establishment of the poet laureateship by Charles II and the effect it exercised on the professional career, and public reputation, of John Dryden, the first incumbent. It discusses the fortunes of literary patronage in the eighteenth century, in relation to such figures as Dr Johnson and Pope, and to the significance of the development of publication by subscription. The chapter concludes with a summary of some of the main findings of the study and reflections upon the role of the poet laureate in modern times, with particular reference to Andrew Motion and the ever-changing relationship of poetry to power.
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