Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose > Early Beginnings of French Influence on English Literature; its Increase under Charles I; English Exiles in France: D’Avenant, Cowley and Others
  The Style of Dryden and its Conversational Character French Influence through Translations; Heroic Romances  

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

XVI. The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose.

§ 5. Early Beginnings of French Influence on English Literature; its Increase under Charles I; English Exiles in France: D’Avenant, Cowley and Others.


The influx of French fashions at the restoration has become a commonplace with historians; but, so far as regards literature, it had begun at least as early as the reign of Elizabeth. The marriage of Charles I with Henrietta Maria (1625) gave a fresh impulse to the movement, and it was under the queen’s auspices, if not by her actual command, that an English version of Corneille’s Cid was put on the stage in 1638, little more than a year after its publication in French. In the same year, three volumes of Balzac’s Letters appeared in an English translation, one of them in a second edition. The vogue of a rhetorician like Balzac, whose style is more important than his thought, is a striking testimony to the high estimation in which the language and literature of France were then held. It must be remembered that Richelieu’s great design of making France the first power in Europe was just beginning to be successful, and that it was partly in furtherance of this that, in 1634, he had founded the Académie française. Though the civil war (1642–8) checked, for a time, the French studies of Englishmen, it ultimately contributed to their diffusion. For it sent most leading English men of letters to Paris. In 1646, Hobbes, “the first of all that fled,” Waller, D’Avenant, Denham, Cowley and Evelyn were all gathered together in the French capital. Cowley remained there till 1656; D’Avenant returned, a prisoner, in 1650, the others in 1652.   6

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Style of Dryden and its Conversational Character French Influence through Translations; Heroic Romances  
 
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