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by John Dryden
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The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
(in full Mac Flecknoe: or, A Satyr upon the True-Blew-Protestant Poet T.S.) An extended verse satire by John Dryden written in the mid-1670s and published anonymously and apparently without Dryden's authority in 1682. It consists of a devastating attack on the Whig playwright Thomas Shadwell that has never been satisfactorily explained; Shadwell's reputation has suffered ever since. The basis of the satire, which represents Shadwell as a literary dunce, is the disagreement between him and Dryden over the quality of Ben Jonson's wit. This hilarious comic lampoon was both the first English mock-heroic poem and the immediate ancestor of Alexander Pope's The Dunciad.
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