Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kallich, Martin, 1918-2006||James, Eugene Nelson, 1919-2013

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Dryden; John; 1631-1700. Hind and the panther


For more than two hundred and fifty years a critical attle about John Dryden has raged. The disagreement has centered around the question of John Dryden's conversion from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1687. The poet has had his champions, but most critics have preferred to attack Dryden as a mercenary; his conversion, unfortunately for his reputation, came at a very advantageous time for him, when the Roman Catholic James II became King of England, Dryden's defenders have generally tried to show Internal similarities between "Religio Laici," Dryden's earlier defense of the Anglican Church, and "The Hind and the Panther,” Dryden's official conversion announcement. Only one important scholar, Louis Bredvold, has attempted to demonstrate Dryden*s sincerity and consistency on other than literal grounds, Bredvold justified Dryden's conversion by examining the mind and the intellectual progression of the poet. There is but little question that Bredvold's study is the most valuable criticism about John Dryden, the man, yet written. The present study is In many ways similar to Bredvold's. But where Bredvold attempted to establish Dryden*s sincerity and consistency from an intellectual point of view, this study attempts to establish the same goals from 712 point of view of psychoanalysis. It is the contention of this thesis that John Dryden*s conversion to Homan Catholicism was but a manifestation of deep psychological problems which began in the poet's early years. This study attempts to demonstrate that Dryden's relationships with males were considerably different from his relationships with females. In the light of this realization, this paper goes on to point out a similarity between Dryden's relationships and his conversion. It is my contention that Dryden's conversion is actually a search for a feminine authority and a rejection of male authority which was conditioned by his childhood in which he lived with a father who rejected him and a domineering mother. After those early years, John searched subconsciously for a feminine authority like his mother; the Roman Catholic Church was, as this study points out, the logical answer to such a search. Through psychoanalysis, then, Dryden's consistency and sincerity are evaluated. This study proceeds to inter­pret "The Hind and the Panther" as a manifestation of the childhood conditioning the poet received.


Includes bibliographical references.


iv, 116 pages




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