John Dryden Additional Biography

Biography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

John Dryden was the eldest of fourteen children in a landed family of modest means whose sympathies were Puritan on both sides. Little is known of his youth in Northamptonshire, for Dryden, seldom hesitant about expressing his opinions, was reticent about details of his personal life. At about age fifteen, he was enrolled in Westminster School, then under the headmastership of Dr. Richard Busby, a school notable for its production of poets and bishops. Having attained at Westminster a thorough grounding in Latin, he proceeded to Cambridge, taking the B.A. in 1654. After the death of his father brought him a modest inheritance in the form of rents from family land, Dryden left the university and settled in London. Though little is known of his early years there, he served briefly in Oliver Cromwell’s government in a minor position and may have worked for the publisher Henry Herringman. He produced an elegy on the death of Cromwell, yet when Charles II ascended the throne, Dryden greeted the new ruler with a congratulatory poem, Astraea Redux (1660). After the Restoration, he turned his main interest to the drama, producing an insignificant comedy, The Wild Gallant, and collaborating with Sir Robert Howard on a heroic play, The Indian Queen. He married Lady Elizabeth Howard, Sir Robert’s sister, a marriage that brought him a generous dowry and, eventually, three sons in whom he took pride.

Throughout his career, Dryden was no stranger to controversy, whether literary, political, or religious; in fact, he seemed all too eager to seize an occasion for polemics. In literature, he challenged Sir Robert Howard’s views on drama, Thomas Rymer’s on criticism, and the John Wilmot, earl of Rochester’s and Thomas Shadwell’s on questions of literary...

(The entire section is 732 words.)

Biography

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

John Dryden was the eldest of fourteen children in a landed family of modest means whose sympathies were Puritan on both sides. Little is known of his youth in Northamptonshire, for Dryden, seldom hesitant about his opinions, was reticent about his personal life. At about the age of fifteen, he was enrolled in Westminster School, then under the headmastership of Richard Busby, a school notable for its production of poets and bishops. Having attained at Westminster a thorough grounding in Latin, he proceeded to Cambridge, taking the B.A. degree in 1654. After the death of his father brought him a modest inheritance in the form of rents from family land, he left the university and settled in London. Though little is known of his early years there, he served briefly in Cromwell’s government in a minor position and may have worked for the publisher Henry Herringman. He produced an elegy on the death of Cromwell, yet when Charles II ascended the throne, Dryden greeted the new ruler with a congratulatory poem, Astraea Redux. After the Restoration, he turned his main interest to drama, collaborating with Sir Robert Howard on one heroic play. He married Lady Elizabeth Howard, Sir Robert’s sister, in 1663, a marriage that brought him a generous dowry and eventually three sons in whom he took pride.

Throughout his career, Dryden was no stranger to controversy, whether literary, political, or religious; in fact, he seemed all too eager to seize an occasion to express his views on these subjects. In literature, he challenged Sir Robert Howard’s views on drama, Thomas Rymer’s on criticism, and Rochester’s and Thomas Shadwell’s on questions of literary merit and taste. After receiving encouragement from Charles II, he entered the political controversy over succession to the throne with Absalom and Achitophel. Later...

(The entire section is 753 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201543-Dryden.jpg John Dryden Published by Salem Press, Inc.

John Dryden (DRI-duhn) was born in the village of Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, England, on August 19, 1631, the fourteenth child of Erasmus and Mary Pickering Dryden. His family owned land in the area and was identified with the Puritan cause, which Dryden later rejected. Little is known about his childhood, since Dryden was reluctant to record events of his personal life. At about age fifteen, he was enrolled in Westminster School in London, an institution noted for its production of poets and bishops during the seventeenth century. The curriculum stressed not only classical learning but also original poetic composition in Latin and English. Following a thorough grounding in Latin classics under the headmaster, Dr. Richard Busby,...

(The entire section is 735 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

John Dryden’s amazingly varied literary production adapted the classical poetic genres to the England of his day. He sought to enrich the national literature and to serve as an instructor of manners and morals for his society. His appeal is primarily to reason, not to emotion.

His classical sense of polish enabled him to perfect the heroic couplet and make it the dominant verse form in English. His prose remains a model of lucid, idiomatic, and graceful writing.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

John Dryden (DRID-uhn), English poet, dramatist, and critic, was born at Aldwinkle All Saints, in Northamptonshire, probably on August 19, 1631. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1654.

After honoring Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, in Heroic Stanzas, he welcomed the restoration of Charles II in 1660 in Astraea Redux. Thereafter he remained a staunch royalist and a Tory. Dryden in 1663 married Lady Elizabeth Howard and proved an affectionate father for their three sons. His poem on the Dutch war and the great fire of London was Annus Mirabilis. From this time until 1681 he produced plays.

His...

(The entire section is 840 words.)