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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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John Dryden Meets, Rhymes, and Says Farewell to John Milton

John Dryden Meets, Rhymes, and Says Farewell to John Milton

A Restoration Drama in Three Acts

(p.181) 9 John Dryden Meets, Rhymes, and Says Farewell to John Milton
Milton in the Long Restoration

Steven N. Zwicker

Oxford University Press

John Dryden and John Milton first met in 1659 when Dryden worked in the Protectorate’s Office of Foreign Tongues. Thereafter, as Dryden’s literary celebrity rose and his rhyming couplets dominated the stage, Milton’s blank verse struggled for market share. Yet the younger man solicited permission to fashion a rhyming drama from Paradise Lost, and more than once he paid guarded compliment to the Miltonic sublime. That was not Dryden’s idiom, but he understood its power and the shadow it cast over the later decades of the seventeenth century. This chapter is an effort to understand their relations, both admiring and rivalrous, to map in their aesthetics and their politics both distance and affinity, and to see in Dryden’s accommodation to Milton’s enduring presence an acknowledgment of the complex genealogy of modern English literature—a lineage that reached from Homer and Vergil to John Milton and, yes, to John Dryden himself.

Keywords:   literary rivalry, politics of style, rhyme, heroic drama, John Dryden, John Milton

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