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Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell$
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Christopher D'Addario and Matthew Augustine

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526113894

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526113894.001.0001

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How John Dryden read his Milton: The State of Innocence reconsidered

How John Dryden read his Milton: The State of Innocence reconsidered

(p.224) 12 How John Dryden read his Milton: The State of Innocence reconsidered
Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell

Matthew C. Augustine

Manchester University Press

This chapter reconsiders John Dryden’s dramatic adaptation of Paradise Lost, The State of Innocence. Not exactly neglected, neither has Dryden’s opera been much appreciated by modern critics. Focusing on the relation between text and paratext, this chapter brings into focus not only Dryden’s ambivalence about Milton but also about the nature and direction of his own art by the middle of the 1670s. Suspended daringly between the heroic and the mock-heroic, Dryden’s opera detunes the antithesis between Milton’s ‘strenuous liberty’ and Restoration libertinage even as it accommodates Milton’s anti-Augustan poetics to Dryden’s mature Augustan vision.

Keywords:   John Dryden, John Milton, Libertinism, Mock epic, Augustan

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