Poetics has always had an independence from Aristotle's other writings, even from the
Rhetoric, and it will always be amenable to being given a colouring by the context in which it finds itself. In the neo-classical period in England - here taken to extend from the last quarter of the 17th century to the last quarter of the 18th - it continued to be regarded as a basic authority. But in the treatment of its text there is a continuing shift of attitude - well before classicism gave way to other impulses. As will be seen, the shift is reflected even in the personalities of the six writers studied here.