John Dryden (1631-1700), poet, dramatist and critic, was the most prominent and prolific of English writers during the latter half of the seventeenth century. During a turbulent period of England’s history he reflected, particularly through his satirical writings, the political and social preoccupations of his times.
Among his most celebrated poems is Annus Mirabilis, was published in 1667, describing vividly events of the Dutch Wars and the Great Fire of London. In 1668 Dryden was made poet laureate. Of his plays Marriage a-la-Mode is considered the finest of his comedies, whilst Don Sebastianis principal among his tragedies.
George Saintsbury’s life of Dryden, here republished in facsimile, was first published in the English Men of Letters series in 1881. As a concise biography of Dryden’s life and as a critical study of his works, Saintsbury’s account remains unsurpassed.