John Dryden was the most illustrious poet of his day; the publication of his Works of Virgil
was nothing less than a national event. He was in the public eye for some forty years, holding positions at court for a long period. Dryden wrote more, and in more genres than any of his contemporaries, was praised for his bold, straightforward, and energetic style, and produced the first body of what we now call "criticism" in English.
This new selection, prepared by the eminent Dryden scholar Keith Walker, represents the full range of Dryden's poetic talent, and pays particular attention to his translations, which formed the backbone of his poetic output. These translations more than anything re-energized English verse and pointed to new possiblities for later poets.
Keith Walker is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at University College, London.