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In his lifetime, John Dryden gained fame at the cost first of gossip and
scandal and then of suspicion and scorn. He wrote to order, currying favor with
the Crown and repeatedly savaging its enemies. Yet the finest works of his
political and spiritual imagination- "Absalom and Achitophel" and "The Hind and
the Panther"-develop the themes of envy, ambition, and misdeed in ways that far
transcend their era. During the Glorious Revolution, Dryden fell from patronage
and favor: he then transformed himself into perhaps the greatest of English
translators, a superb interpreter of Virgil and Horace, Juvenal and Persius,
Boccaccio and Chaucer.
With a preface and annotations accompanying each poem, modernized spelling
and punctuation, and an informative introduction and chronology, this Penguin
Classics edition is the only paperback volume of its kind available.