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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VII. The Restoration Drama

§ 21. Dennis

Before considering Nicholas Rowe, whose principal plays belong to the earlier years of the eighteenth century, we may mention the names of a few tragic dramatists of even slighter calibre than Elkanah Settle’s.

John Dennis, the butt of many of Pope’s most savage sarcasms, but well equipped as a literary critic, was the father of a very numerous literary progeny, the dramatic section of which included tragedies, comedies and a masque. But, though he borrowed with equal freedom from Euripides, Tasso, and Shakespeare, his efforts were almost uniformly unsuccessful. In the closing years of the seventeenth century, he produced the comedy A Plot and No Plot (1697), a satire on the Jacobites; and Rinaldo and Armida, a tragedy founded on Tasso, played in 1699.