Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Restoration Drama > Dennis
  Settle Banks  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VII. The Restoration Drama.

§ 21. Dennis.


Before considering Nicholas Rowe, whose principal plays belong to the earlier years of the eighteenth century, we may mention the names of a few tragic dramatists of even slighter calibre than Elkanah Settle’s.   37
  John Dennis, the butt of many of Pope’s most savage sarcasms, but well equipped as a literary critic, 24  was the father of a very numerous literary progeny, the dramatic section of which included tragedies, comedies and a masque. But, though he borrowed with equal freedom from Euripides, Tasso, and Shakespeare, his efforts were almost uniformly unsuccessful. In the closing years of the seventeenth century, he produced the comedy A Plot and No Plot (1697), a satire on the Jacobites; and Rinaldo and Armida, a tragedy founded on Tasso, played in 1699.   38

Note 24. His Three Letters on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare (1711) were written in reply to Rymer, and are creditable to Dennis’s perception of the greatness of Shakespeare’s tragic genius; his earlier critical works likewise deserve notice. His disputes with Collier, Addison and Pope belong to the literary biographies of those writers. [ back ]

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  Settle Banks  
 
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