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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

§ 8. Revived Influence of Earlier English Work

On the whole, French influence on English tragedy, at this time, has been exaggerated; such as it was, it affected rather the outward form than the inward spirit. Much was written to prove that the French mode, which was a reversion to classic rules, was the right mode, and most of the earlier plays of the period bear marks of the influence of these discussions. But, for the last quarter of the century, the drama in the hands of Otway, Southerne and Rowe was essentially a descendant of earlier English work. The result of the controversy is admirably summed up by Thorndike: “The laws of the pseudoclassicists,” he says, “were held to be measureably good, but Shakespeare without those laws had been undeniably great.”