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Digressive Voices in Early Modern English Literature$
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Anne Cotterill

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261178

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261178.001.0001

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The Obscure Progress of Satire in Dryden's Late Preface

The Obscure Progress of Satire in Dryden's Late Preface

(p.245) 6 The Obscure Progress of Satire in Dryden's Late Preface
Digressive Voices in Early Modern English Literature

Anne Cotterill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Dryden uses the occasion of writing a history of satire, designed to introduce translations of Juvenal and Persius, to produce his longest dedication and critical essay, The Discourse of Satire (1692), with a potentially unflattering portrait of his old patron, the earl of Dorset, and William III's court carefully lodged at the center in the oddly prolonged trial of critical judgment between Horace and Juvenal. The length and difficult progress of this essay signal yet conceal the personal story behind the history. To Horace, Dryden assigns qualities of effeminate sycophancy and compromised accommodation to a usurping monarch, Augustus Caesar, qualities the poet must distance from himself, once the Stuarts' hired pen, but may attach subtly to Dorset — like Horace the courtier of a usurper. Dryden awards first prize in satire to the exile Juvenal whose masculine freedom of rage and digression the poet claims as his own.

Keywords:   Discourse of Satire, earl of Dorset, William III, Horace, Juvenal, Persius, satire, critical essay, dedicatory preface

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