Dennis, John, 1657–1734, English critic and playwright. Best known for his critical works, which include Grounds of Criticism in Poetry (1704) and An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare (1712), Dennis was also the author of several unsuccessful tragedies. His Appius and Virginia (1709) was satirized as bombastic in Pope's Essay on Criticism. This led to a vicious response from Dennis, who described Pope as a "hunch-back'd toad." The bitter quarrel between the two men terminated only with Dennis's death.
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