John Oldham and the Renewal of Classical Culture
by Paul Hammond
John Oldham (1653-1883) was one of the most important English poets of the later seventeenth century. He was largely responsible for the development ... Show synopsis John Oldham (1653-1883) was one of the most important English poets of the later seventeenth century. He was largely responsible for the development of the classical imitation and was much admired by Dryden, Pope and Johnson. However, he has suffered much critical neglect, and this 1983 book was the first critical study devoted to his poetry. In the first two chapters Dr Hammond covers Oldham's early years and his first attempts at writing poetry. Since the manuscript drafts of his poems survive, we have the rare opportunity to watch a poet's mind at work, and we can follow him as he restrains his addiction to harsh rhythms and crude language. Subsequent chapters consider Oldham's recreative translations of Horace, Juvenal and Boileau. Apart from showing how these came to invigorate English poetry, the author explores the ways in which Latin and French culture was handled in the Restoration period.