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Dryden and Enthusiasm – Literature, Religion, and Politics in Restoration England | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Dryden and Enthusiasm: Literature, Religion, and Politics in Restoration England

John West


For John Dryden, enthusiasm was a crucial form of literary authority. It allowed writers to speak of supernatural or divine things. It signalled the intense emotions of an audience or reader that allowed them to share the writer’s visionary transport. Enthusiasm also carried disturbing political and religious registers. Referring to mistaken claims of divine inspiration, it was associated with the religious sects of the Civil Wars and Interregnum. In Dryden’s work, it characterizes religious dissenters whom he regarded as inheritors to the ideas of those mid-century radicals. For Dryden, enthu ... More

Keywords: Dryden, enthusiasm, Restoration, Civil Wars, imagination, emotions, reason, poetry, drama, literary criticism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198816409
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198816409.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John West, author
Assistant Professor of Seventeenth-Century Literature and Culture, University of Warwick