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Title: The 'imaginary resistance' of Dryden's Virgil
Author: Davis, P. A. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1996
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Locke ridiculed Filmer's account of the monarchist doctrine of passive resistance. Where 'Men may not strike again', he remarked, they are reduced to 'imaginary Resistance'. That 'imaginary' begs a question since when Locke was writing the word could still be used in the neutral sense of 'imaginative', though he himself was using it pejoratively to mean 'fanciful' or 'non-existent'. The question of what 'imaginary' defiance can achieve against real political 'Force' was pertinent at the time Locke's remark was published particularly to John Dryden, who, deprived for his Roman Catholicism of the public employments and salaries he had enjoyed as Poet Laureate and Historiographer-Royal, was committed then, as he said, to 'no Action, but that of the Soul'. This dissertation argues that Dryden put up substantial 'imaginary Resistance' against those 'unhappy Circumstances' in the main action of his soul after the Glorious Revolution - his translation of The Works of Virgil (1697). That resistance is apparent not in a sparse clutch of encoded criticisms of William III and his ministers (as though translating Virgil was just a cover for Dryden's Jacobite propaganda), but as a sustained abstention deep in and throughout the verse from the allurements of a self-involved poetic voice. In the troubled early decades of the seventeenth century English poets had (in common with the rest of their country men) been urged to such self-involvement, towards contracting the public scope of their imaginings, as peace was sought from the cacophony of voices raised in public which was the Civil War.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available