Restoration Dramatic Theory and Criticism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores why the late seventeenth-century English dramatic criticism is important to the student of Restoration drama. The chapter offers a roughly chronological account of the major debates the principal critics of the period engaged in, while also identifying the more complex (and sometimes surprisingly modern) issues surrounding them. This criticism can be entertaining and even fun. Almost every critic writing during this period was trying to make criticism accessible and appealing to a broad audience. Students who take the time to read, in their entirety, John Dryden's An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (1668), The Rehearsal (1672), Thomas Rymer's A Short View of Tragedy (1693) and Jeremy Collier's A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698) will be rewarded with both a better understanding of late seventeenth-century dramatic theory and a keener appreciation for English wit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Restoration Drama
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781118663400
ISBN (Print)9780631219231
StatePublished - Feb 28 2013


  • English dramatic criticism
  • English wit
  • Jeremy Collier
  • John Dryden
  • Late seventeenth-century
  • Restoration dramatic theory
  • Thomas Rymer


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