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Title: The reception of Ancient Greek tragedy in England 1660-1760
Author: Waters, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 2470
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The dissertation enquires into some of the forms that the reception of ancient Greek tragedy took in England between 1660 and 1760. It looks at those critics and translators who engaged most with ancient Greek tragedy and whose engagement was accompanied by an interest in ancient theory and native English literature. Chapter 1, after examining works by George Gascoigne and Francis Kinwelmershe, Thomas Goffe, Thomas May and Christopher Wase, considers William Joyner’s original tragedy The Roman Empress (1670) in order to see what use Joyner made of Sophocles’ Oedipus and Euripides’ Hippolytus and Medea. Chapter 2 turns to the writings of, especially, John Dryden, Thomas Rymer, John Dennis and Charles Gildon, who were the most prolific and interesting commentators on dramatic theory in England at this time, and assesses their different perspectives on the questions of tragedy and the modern stage. Chapter 3 addresses separately comments on ancient Greek tragedy contained in Jeremy Collier’s attack on contemporary English theatre in A Short View of the Immorality, and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698) and in replies to him. Chapter 4 concentrates on Lewis Theobald’s translations of Sophocles’ Electra (1714) and Oedipus (1715) and how his views of ancient Greek tragedy influenced, and were influenced by, his interest in Shakespeare, an edition of whose plays he published in 1733. Chapter 5 examines Thomas Francklin’s The Tragedies of Sophocles and A Dissertation on Antient Tragedy (both 1759) and how they reflect his interest in the contemporary stage and contemporary ideas about the value of simplicity in literature and art. I argue that the writers I examine reflect through their engagement with Greek tragedy ideas about the relationships between ancient and early modern English tragedy, particularly that of Shakespeare, and between the present and the past.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available