Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 March 2009
John Dryden famously bowdlerized Shakespeare, whose plays violated his reason-governed tastes. That the author of such verse as ‘Happy, happy, happy pair! / None but the brave, / None but the brave, / None but the brave deserves the fair’ (Alexander’s Feast) should have found the rather stronger temperament and the complex plot ambiguities of his predecessor indigestible should come as no surprise. Because our educational processes have long since held up Shakespeare as the pinnacle of English-language literature, we tend to find Dryden’s fastidious attitude somewhat quaint – if, indeed, we remember it at all.
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