Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose > Interest in Science and Demand for Clearness of Style
  The New Prose and its Causes Growing Plainness and Simplicity of Pulpit Oratory  

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

XVI. The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose.

§ 2. Interest in Science and Demand for Clearness of Style.


So writes Sprat, the first historian of the Royal Society. Almost at the same time, in December, 1664, his colleagues gave effect to their views by appointing a committee for the improvement of the English language, which included, besides himself, Waller, Dryden and Evelyn. 1  Doubtless, it was out of this committee that the idea arose of founding an English academy for the “improvement of speaking and writing” on the model of the French one. This idea was discussed at three or four meetings held at Gray’s inn, where, in addition to the above, Cowley and the duke of Buckingham, also members of the Royal Society, were present. But, in consequence of the plague and “other circumstances intervening,” the plan “came to nothing.” 2 
  2

Note 1. Evelyn embodied his views in a letter to the chairman, Sir Peter Wyche, which is printed in J.E. Spingarn’s Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century, vol.II, pp.310 ff. [ back ]
Note 2. Evelyn to Pepys (op. cit., vol. II, pp.327 ff.). As to the origin of the Royal Society see, also, ante, Chap. XV. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The New Prose and its Causes Growing Plainness and Simplicity of Pulpit Oratory  
 
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