Spring 2018 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for spring 2018 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Dryden's Final Poetic Mode
The Fables

Cedric D. Reverand II

254 pages
Cloth 1988 | ISBN 9780812281217 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512806717 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

Two months before he died, Dryden published a collection of verse translations and original poetry, Fables Ancient and Modern, the work for which he was most admired throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cedric Reverand argues that Fables, which has for the most part escaped modern scrutiny, embodies a purposeful, subversive strategy, and constitutes a new poetic mode that emerged when the laureate, public spokesman for king and country, lost his official post and became an outcast, a minority voice.

In Dryden's Final Poetic Mode, Reverand focuses on Dryden's characteristic concerns—love and war, power and kingship, the heroic code, the Christian ideal—tracing how Dryden assembles informing ideals and yet dissolves them as well. By examining Dryden's treatment of familiar issues, Reverand demonstrates that this final poetic mode is not discontinuous with the earlier poetry bill is a further development, a reevaluation of the principles that sustained the poet throughout his career.

Fables expresses Dryden's personal experience dealing with a changed and changing world. With the values he cherished crumbling, he is trapped into trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. His book reveals the fragility of various systems of value and the futility of discovering abiding ideals in a universe of perpetual flux, but it also reveals a poet who actively pursues meaning rather than surrendering to despair.

It is this attempt to accommodate to a changing, subversive world that Reverand asserts is the impulse behind Fables and the central issue of Dryden's life in the1690s. Dryden's Final Poetic Mode will interest students and scholars of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature.

Cedric D. Reverand II is Professor of English at the University of Wyoming. He is the author of various works on Dryden and Pope.

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