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John Dennis

(1657—1734) literary critic


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(1657–1734),

poet and dramatist, but best known for his criticism, which combines a respect for neo‐classical theory with a passion for the sublime (particularly as manifested by Milton), and with a dislike for the new sentimental comedy. His critical works include The Advancement and Reformation of Modern Poetry (1701), The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry (1704), and An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare (1712). His tragedies include Appius and Virginia, unsuccessfully produced in 1709, which was mocked by Pope in his Essay on Criticism; this started a feud between the two writers. But Pope accepted and acted upon some of his critical comments, and shortly before Dennis's poverty‐stricken death wrote a prologue for his benefit performance.

Subjects: Literature.


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