Edward Howard on Jonson’s imaginary creations, 1671
DOI link for Edward Howard on Jonson’s imaginary creations, 1671
Edward Howard on Jonson’s imaginary creations, 1671 book
The play was a complete failure on stage; in the preface, Howard comforts himself with the example of the neglect of the old English dramatists on the contemporary stage-they who, he says, brought the stage to ‘a non ultra of designe and wit’ and gave the world ‘the best Dramatique Rules, and Plays together’ (Sig. A2r) —and of those who have tried to follow their principles (Aphra Behn echoes the sentiment in her commendatory poem to the play). Specifically, he rebuts charges that his characters are not realistic by the example of the fantastic characters of The Devil is an Ass and Cynthia’s Revels, and by the improbabilities in the conception of Morose (an interesting contrast to the legend Dryden passed on of there having been a real prototype for the character). In this and the preface to The Womens Conquest (No. 78, above) Howard makes a case for heroic comedy, a cause also championed at this time by Dryden.