All for Love

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Bloomsbury Academic, Jun 21, 2004 - Drama - 160 pages
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All for Love or, The World Well Lost is John Dryden's 1677 adaptation of the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra into a neo-classical quintet with supporting voices: After Cleopatra's desertion of Antony at the battle of Actium, not only his wife Octavia but also his general Ventidius and his friend Dolabella strive to win him over to their side. Antony, torn between the claims of duty, friendship, dignity and love, despairs when he hears the rumor of Cleopatra's death, which is not, as in Shakespeare's version, spread by the queen herself but by her deceitful eunuch. This edition includes Dryden's dedication of the play to the Earl of Danby and his preface, in which he defends against French neo-classicist strictures the liberties he took with his sources; it further discusses the play's austere power in the theatre, which is unjustly considered to be inferior to Shakespeare's quite distinct version of the story.

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User Review  - marcelrochester - LibraryThing

Certainly well-written, and relatable, but the characters aren't well-drawn enough for me to see the necessity of another Cleo tale. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Born August 9, 1631 into a wealthy Puritan family, John Dryden received an excellent education at Westminster School and Cambridge University. After a brief period in government, he turned his attention almost entirely to writing. Dryden was one of the first English writers to make his living strictly by writing, but this meant he had to cater to popular taste. His long career was astonishingly varied, and he turned his exceptional talents to almost all literary forms. Dryden dominated the entire Restoration period as a poet, playwright, and all-round man of letters. He was the third poet laureate of England. In his old age Dryden was virtually a literary "dictator" in England, with an immense influence on eighteenth-century poetry. His verse form and his brilliant satires became models for other poets, but they could rarely equal his standard. Dryden was also a master of "occasional" poetry - verse written for a specific person or special occasion. Like most poets of his time, Dryden saw poetry as a way of expressing ideas rather than emotions, which makes his poetry seem cool and impersonal to some modern readers. Dryden also wrote numerous plays that helped him make him one of the leading figures in the Restoration theatre. Today, however he is admired more for his influence on other writers than for his own works. He died on April 30, 1700 in London.

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