An Essay on Dramatic Poesy is written in the form of a dialogue among four gentlemen: Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius and Neander. Eugenius favours modern English dramatists by attacking the classical playwrights, who did not themselves always observe the unity of place.
But Crites defends the ancients and points out that they invited the principles of dramatic art paved by Aristotle and Horace.
The social life of this period was influenced much by the French manners.
The life of the people of England was greatly affected by the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666.
When the young publisher Jacob Tonson approached him to contribute to a miscellany edition of Ovid translations, Dryden was at the height of his reputation, as Poet Laureate and critic.
marks at once the beginning of Dryden’s late and prolific career as a translator of the classics, and that of his collaboration with Jacob Tonson.Crites opposes rhyme in plays and argues that though the moderns excel in sciences, the ancient age was the true age of poetry.Lisideius defends the French playwrights and attacks the English tendency to mix genres.The city ravaged by the violent outbreak was later devastated by fire. There was also a change in literary tastes during this time owing to the French influence.Literature appealed more to the head than to the heart and Several acts were passed persecuting the Roman Catholics and the Non Conformists.But the Parliament made him revoke all his acts and even tried to make him disinherit his Catholic brother James from the throne.After the death of Charles, his brother James was made king as James II.Although some of the statements made in the preface were later qualified in response to Dryden’s encounters with other classical authors, the themes and issues articulated in this text can be said to form the basis of Dryden’s reflection on translation, and to establish the main tenets of Augustan translation discourse.However, although the significance of the preface to It remains that I should say somewhat of Poetical Translations in general, and give my Opinion (with submission to better Judgments) which way of Version seems to me most proper.The power of the Church of England over the king and the Parliament was tremendous.He made a secret treaty with the French king to restore Catholic faith in England and repealed the penal laws against the Roman Catholics and the Non Conformists.