Satire and Secrecy in English Literature from 1650 to 1750

Satire and Secrecy in English Literature from 1650 to 1750


SKU: 9781403984340


This book develops a theory of satire that includes women writers and provides the postmodern reader with new critical tools with which to read ironic texts from the age of Swift and Pope.

This book revises assumptions about satire as a public, masculine discourse derived from classical precedents, in order to develop theoretical and critical paradigms that accommodate women, popular culture, and postmodern theories of language as a potentially aggressive, injurious act. Although Habermas places satirists like Swift and Pope in the public sphere, this book investigates their participation in clandestine strategies of attack in a world understood to be harboring dangerous secrets. Authors of anonymous pamphlets as well as major figures including Behn, Dryden, Manley, Swift, and Pope, share at times what Swift called the writer’s “life by stealth.”

Melinda Alliker Rabb is Associate Professor of English and American Literatures and Language at Brown University. She has published widely in scholarly journals on topics pertaining to the long eighteenth-century. They include studies of Swift, Pope, Manley, Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, Godwin, women writers, satire, and the canon.

“The significance of Satire and Secrecy would be in its suggestion of an explanatory/critical model for reading post-Augustan satire that brings a conception of secrecy (with its various employment of gossip, slander, secret history, and so on) into the picture as a key satiric strategy. Rabb’s view of satiric secrecy would open up doors of understanding for numerous texts. Her study, provocatively and broadly contemplates a conceptual revision of the public/private divide.”–Ruben Quintero, California State University, Los Angeles

Secrecy and Satire * A History of Secrecy * Towards a Theory of Satire I: Gossip and Slander * Towards a Theory of Satire II: Secret History * The Gender of Satire: Contracts, Promises, and Don Juan-figure from Behn to Byron * Satire: Re-reading The New Atalantis, Gulliver’s Travels, The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad * ’A Life by Stealth’: Autobiographical Satire in Manley, Swift, and Pope * Postmodernizing Satire: Secrecy, Conspiracy, and Paranoia

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Weight 1 oz
Dimensions 1 × 6 × 9 in