Dryden Group Work

"Annus Mirabilis" --Dryden as "public poet / poet laureat"

1)  What female metaphors does Dryden use for the city, and to what kinds of poetry or actual people might he be alluding?

2)  What is "The British Ocean"?

3)  What is the "easteren wealth" toward which London's fleets sail, and what will happen in the next two centuries as a result?

Mac Flecnoe--Dryden as critic/satirist/public "scourge" of fools, pretenders, and the pompous

1)  Flecknoe, the recently deceased and extremely dull poet, seeks to secure the succession of his dynasty by appointing an heir.  To what British institituion does this metaphor obliquely allude?

2)  Shadwell is said to have numerous qualifications for the job of being Flecknoe's son and heir (Mac-Flecknoe).  How do lines 1-34 summarize his "resume"?

3)  After numerous slighting comparisons between Shadwell's poetic style and those of previous poets and contemporaries, in lines 197-210, Flecknoe turns again to specific praises of how his poetry is made.  What does Flecknoe praise and why do the praises condemn?

Essay on Dramatic Poesy--Dryden as general poetic critic

1)  According to footnote 1 on 2254, what kinds of poetic judgment do the four friends in the rowboat represent?  How might four modern poets on jet skis in Baltimore Harbor update those four positions?  Would any stay the same?

2)  What are the two types of "bad poets" the four agree upon, and what do these bad poets do wrong?

3)  On 2254, how does Dryden say that "wit" is best conveyed to readers and what does John Donne have to do with it?

4)  How does Dryden explain the differences between Shakespeare and Jonson, and which poet does Dryden esteem most highly?  Does he expect his readers to share his opinion?

The Author's Apology for Heroic Poetry and Heroic License--Dryden's rules for judging poets (cf. New Criticism before New Criticism)

1)  What general rule does Dryden seem to be using in order to determine which poets are the best?

2)  How does he define "wit" in this essay?

Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire--Dryden on satire as social correction

1)  What is the comparison between a satire upon a man and hanging him?  Explain.

Preface to Fables Ancient and Modern--Chaucer

1)  What does Dryden find faulty in Chaucer's poetry?  Is he right?

2)  What does Dryden find great in Chaucer's poetry?  Is he right?