Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose > Saint-Evremond and the Renewal of the Popularity of Montaigne in England
  Evidence of Dryden, Rapin and Rymer Francis Osborne  

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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.

§ 11. Saint-Evremond and the Renewal of the Popularity of Montaigne in England.


But there was another critic of the same school who exercised a far greater influence on writers, for he was living in our midst. This was St.Évremond, who, exiled from his own country, made England his home from 1662 to 1665 and, again, from 1670 to his death in 1703. He was on intimate terms with the English wits and courtiers, with Hobbes, Waller and Cowley, with Buckingham, Arlington and St. Albans, and his conversational powers were highly appreciated at Will’s and other places of resort. His occasional writings were translated from time to time into English, the first to appear being a small volume of essays on the drama, including one on English comedy (1685). Regarded as an oracle on both sides of the Channel, he had a marked influence on English literary criticism. But, though he had a real critical gift, he was neither catholic nor profound. He clung to the favourites of his youth, to Montaigne, Malherbe, Corneille, Voiture, and, having been exiled from France at the close of la bonne Régence, he had little sympathy for the age of Louis XIV. Molière and La Fontaine barely found favour in his eyes; he was unjust to Racine, and he detested Boileau. Yet much should be pardoned in a man who ventured to say, in the year 1672, that “there is nothing so perfect in the Poetics of Aristotle that it should be a rule to all nations and all ages.”   13

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Evidence of Dryden, Rapin and Rymer Francis Osborne  
 
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