Online Encyclopedia

ELKANAH SETTLE (1648–1724)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 705 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ELKANAH SETTLE (1648–1724), English poet and playwright, was born at Dunstable on the 1st of January 1648. He entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1666, but left the university without taking a degree. His first tragedy, Cambyses, King of Persia, was produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1667. The success of this play led the earl of Rochester to encourage the new writer as a rival to Dryden. Through his influence Settle's Empress of Morocco (1671) was twice acted at Whitehall, and proved a signal success on the stage. It is said by Dennis to have been " the first play that was ever sold in England for two shillings, and the first play that was ever printed with cuts." These illustrations represent scenes in the theatre, and make the book very valuable. The play was printed with a preface to the earl of Norwich, in which Settle described with scorn the effusive dedications of other dramatic poets. Dryden was obviously aimed at, and he co-operated with Crowne and Shadwell in an abusive pamphlet entitled "Notes and Observations
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