By Michael McKeon
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Extra info for Politics and Poetry in Restoration England: The Case of Dryden's Annus Mirabilis
Furthermore, it must be kept in mind that the two spheres of discourse whose separation is made here to facilitate analysis were experienced by Dryden's audience within the total relationship of the poem as a rhetorical encounter. To return, finally, to the troublesome term with which I began this investigation of modern treatments of Restoration poetry, the analysis that follows will seek to understand "political poetry" as the outcome of an interaction of perspectives, neither "poetry" nor "politics" alone but the product of their convergence.
Throughout the poem the narrator seems only tentatively committed, recognizing faults in all parties . . The urbane, cool wit of the narrator creates a buffer of civilized emotions between the action portrayed and our normal immediate response. It creates the aesthetic distance necessary for the poem as art object rather than propa28. Cf. Ronald S. Crane, The Idea of the Humanities (Chicago, 1967), I, 175-76, who calls A. O. Lovejoy's "unit-ideas" "commonplaces," "partly to suggest their affinity with the topoi and places of argument .
C. Ward ( L i f e of John Dryden , p. , tracts] to suggest a widespread dissatisfaction with Charles and the royal Parliament? Where is the fear of the populace to be found? . Do we not need more evidence to demonstrate that the government was so weak as to need to fear opposition pamphlets? " 40 POLITICS AND POETRY IN RESTORATION ENGLAND bathos, nevertheless succeed in converting history to poetry and point ahead to Dryden's masterpiece of the poetic generalization of politics, Absalom and Achitophel.
Politics and Poetry in Restoration England: The Case of Dryden's Annus Mirabilis by Michael McKeon