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The Works of John Dryden, Volume XX

Prose 1691-1698 De Arte Graphica and Shorter Works

John Dryden

Publication Year: 1990

For the first time since 1695, a complete text of De Arte Graphica as Dryden himself wrote it is available to readers. In all, Volume XX presents six pieces written during Dryden's final decade, each of them either requested by a friend or commissioned by a publisher. Two are translations, three introduce translations made by others, and the sixth introduces an original work by one of Dryden's friends.

The most recent version of De Arte Graphica, Saintsbury's late nineteenth-century reissue of Scott's edition, based the text of the translated matter on an edition that was heavily revised by someone other than Dryden. In fact, only one of the pieces offered here, the brief Character of Saint-Evremond, has appeared complete in a twentieth-century edition. The commentary in this volume supplies biographical and bibliographical contexts for these pieces and draws attention to the views on history and historians, poetry and painting, Virgil and translation, which Dryden expresses in them.

Many other volumes of prose, poetry, and plays are available in the California Edition of The Works of John Dryden.

Published by: University of California Press

Series: Works of John Dryden

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication, Preface

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pp. i-xi


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pp. xii-xvi

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Preface to A Dialogue Concerning Women

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pp. 1-6

...But so much variety of reading, both in Ancient and Modern Authors, such digestion of that reading, so much justness of thought, that it leaves no room for affectation, or Pedantry, I may venture to say, are not overcommon amongst practis’d Writers, and very rarely to be found amongst Beginners. It puts me in mind of what was said of...

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A Character of Saint-Evremond

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pp. 7-12

...there a Fineness of Expression, and a Delicateness of Thought, the Easiness of a Gentleman, the Exactness of a Scholar, and the Good Sence of a Man of Business; that the Author is throughly acquainted with the World, and has conversed with the best sort of Men to be found in it. His Subjects are often Great and Noble, and then he never fails to write up to them; when he speaks of the Ancient...

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A Character of Polybius and His Writings

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pp. 13-35

...Dress; but under such a cloud of Errours, in his first Translation, that his native Beauty, was not only hidden, but his Sence perverted, in many places: so that he appear'd unlike himself, and unworthy of that esteem, which has always been paid him by Antiquity, as the most sincere, the clearest, and most Instructive of all Historians. He is now not only redeem'd from those mistakes, but also restor'd to the first...

De Arte Graphica

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A Parallel betwixt Painting and Poetry

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pp. 38-77

...not of my own choice that I undertook this Work. Many of our most Skillfull Painters, and other Artists, were pleas'd to recommend this Authour to me, as one who perfectly understood the Rules of Painting; who gave the best and most concise Instructions for Performance, and the surest to inform the Judgment of all who lov'd this noble Art: That they who before were...

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Preface of the French Author

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pp. 78-81

...including all Mankind. Of whom great multitudes are daily found, who value themselves on the knowledge of it; either because they keep company with Painters, or that they have seen good Pieces; or lastly, because their Gusto is naturally good. Which notwithstanding, that Knowledge of theirs (if we may so call it) is so very superficial, and so ill grounded

Table of Precepts

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pp. 82-83

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The Art of Painting

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pp. 84-109

...himself, have enjoy'd the sight and conversation of the Gods; whose Majesty they observe, and contemplate the wonders of their Discourse, in order to relate them to Mankind; whom at the same time they inspire with those Coelestial Flames, which shine so gloriously in their Works. From Heaven they take their passage through the World; and are neither sparing of their...

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Observations on the Art of Painting

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pp. 110-197

...The advantage which Painting possesses above Poesie is this; That amongst so great a Diversity of Languages, she makes her self understood by all the Nations of the World; and that she is necessary to all other Arts, because of the need which they have of demonstrative Figures, which often give more Light to the Understanding than the clearest discourses we can make...

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The Judgment of Du Fresnoy on the Works of Painters

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pp. 198-207

...he had Conceptions which were more extraordinary, more profound, and more elevated, than even his Master himself. He was also a great Architect, his Gust was pure and exquisite. He was a great Imitator of the Ancients, giving a clear Testimony in all his Productions, that he was desirous to restore to Practice the...

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The Life of Lucian

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pp. 208-229

...labour'd under so great a straitness of Estate, that he was fain to put his Son Apprentice to a Statuary, whose Genius for the finer Studies was so extraordinary and so rare; because he hoped from that Business not only a speedy supply to his own Wants, but was secure, that his Education, in that Art, would be much less Expensive to him. He was born in...

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The Annals of Tacitus, Book I

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pp. 230-294

...by the Mildness of his Government, he began by degrees to incroach upon them, and to draw into his own hands, the Authority of the Senate, of the Magistrates, and Laws; none daring to oppose him, the most violent of his Enemies being either slain in Battle, or cut off by Proscriptions, and the remaining Nobility, the more ready they were to enter into Servitude, the more sure of Honours and Preferment: Besides...

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pp. 295-404

...the lampooner as an attack upon them, and Dryden was charged with controlling Walsh and masterminding the attack. But the story underlying the dialogue involved more than another case of would-be praise interpreted as actual satire, and to understand Dryden's involvement in the composition, publication, and reception of the dialogue, we need to retrace the steps of his friendship with Walsh...

Textual Notes

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pp. 405-418


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pp. 419-420

A. Charles Alphonse Dufresnoy’s De Arte Graphica

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pp. 421-433

B. Reflections and Notes on The Annals of Tacitus, Book I

I: Politick Reflections

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pp. 435-488

II: Historical Notes

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pp. 489-510

Index to the Commentary

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pp. 511-521

E-ISBN-13: 9780520905337
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520021334

Page Count: 546
Publication Year: 1990

Series Title: Works of John Dryden