By Assistant Professor Marilyn Francus B.A. M.A. Ph.D.
Through illuminating Jonathan Swift’s fascination with language, Marilyn Francus indicates how the linguistic questions posed by means of his paintings are on the vanguard of twentieth-century literary feedback: What constitutes that means in language? How do humans reply to language? Who has (or must have) authority over language? Is linguistic worth synonymous with literary value?Francus starts off with a close research of Swift’s linguistic schooling, which straddled a thorough transition in linguistic inspiration, and its impact on his prose. This compelling starting contains occasionally outstanding ancient information regarding the instructing and studying of linguistics and language conception within the 17th and eighteenth centuries. Swift’s educational experiences mirrored the normal universalist view that seeks an Adamic language to opposite the fragmentation of Babel and attain epistemological team spirit. yet Swift’s show additionally uncovered him to the modern linguistics of the medical societies and of John Locke, who argued that the project of linguistic that means is unfair and subjective, taking pictures an individual’s realizing at a selected speedy. those competing theories, Francus keeps, aid clarify the Irish writer’s conflicting tendencies towards either linguistic order and freewheeling creativity.To improve a whole imaginative and prescient of Swiftian linguistics, Francus makes a speciality of A story of a bathtub because the archetypal linguistic textual content within the speedy canon, yet she additionally contains proof from his different well-known works, together with Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest inspiration, magazine to Stella, and The Bickerstaff Papers, in addition to from his lesser recognized spiritual and political tracts and his correspondence. furthermore, Francus attracts at the suitable paintings of latest linguists (such as Wilkins, Watts, Dyche, and Stackhouse), philosophers (Hobbes and Locke), and authors (including Temple, Sprat, Dryden, Pope, Addison, and Defoe).Francus concludes that speedy occupies a pivotal position in literary heritage: his unsleeping emphasis on textuality and prolonged linguistic play anticipates not just the way forward for satiric prose however the glossy novel besides.
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Additional info for The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift's Satiric Prose
45 Since the official curriculum does not accurately depict the academic course, piecing together Swift's Trinity program is a painstaking task of joining bits of information from sundry sources. "47 Nevertheless, Swift's grades for the Easter term of 1685 indicate that his academic performance was average. "49 So Swift was actually doing no better than average in collegeand not surprisingly, best in his language courses. " 51 The compositions were assigned primarily to ensure that the students were paying attention in the lectures; writing was one way the teacher could determine the student's knowledge, and unlike oral and written exams, in which the instructor needed time both to administer and to grade the test, reading essays was relatively time-efficient.
This occasional early patternlessness dominates Temple's late prose, and while it may have been dictated by his perceptions of literature and gardening as subjects, it is more likely that the older Temple was seeking the literary equivalent of sprezzatura. Whatever the reason, Temple's later works are highly idiosvncratic; sometimes he pursues a distinct line of argument, at other times he digresses, and only when he is following chronological order does he maintain a consistent structure within an essay.
23 Thus the parallel study of languages seems to be the key to Swift's linguistic education, for his mind was trained to recognize similarities < previous page page_12 next page > < previous page page_13 next page > Page 13 among languages, their structures, and their meanings. Swift's discovery of the double meaning of that childhood Anglo-Latin pun seems inevitable given his academic program; that he delighted in it reflects the shaping of his temperament. These linguistic studies implicitly pointed to problems of representation and meaning, which eventually became explicit through the rhetorical decisions inherent in translation.
The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift's Satiric Prose by Assistant Professor Marilyn Francus B.A. M.A. Ph.D.