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Studies in the Eighteenth Century II

Studies in the Eighteenth Century II

Edited by R. F. Brissenden
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 420
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  • Book Info
    Studies in the Eighteenth Century II
    Book Description:

    This volume presents an array of studies on many aspects of the eighteenth century: on the novel, history, the history of ideas, drama, poetry and sentimentality.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3244-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Pope’s Essay on Man and the French Enlightenment
    (pp. 1-16)
    Robert Shackleton

    May I begin this essay with a personal reminiscence? In the summer term of 1939 I was approaching the end of my second year as an undergraduate at Oriel, reading French. I was proposing to offer as a special subject ‘the influence of England on French literature in the second half of the eighteenth century’. In the Oxford Modern Languages School special subjects were not then usually taught. One was left to one’s own devices: a healthy training. My tutor, A. D. Crow, suggested that I might usefully, nevertheless, seek general advice on what to read from the Merton Professor....

  6. The Hero as Clown: Jonathan Wild, Felix Krull, and Others
    (pp. 17-52)
    C.J. Rawson

    Two related assumptions aboutJonathan Wildhave seldom been questioned: that the tone of the novel is ‘acrid, incisive, mordant, implacably severe’², and that its ‘hero’ is a figure of unrelieved and unsoftened villainy. These assumptions are shared by Coleridge and by Scott, who differ substantially from one another in their valuation of the work.³ They have held firm among all the other interpretative reappraisals and disagreements of more recent critics. Even when the conventional view of the novel’s moral formula, as a simple opposition of ‘good’ and ‘great’, has been challenged as incomplete, it is Heartfree and not Wild...

  7. Richardson at Work: Revisions, Allusions, and Quotations in Clarissa
    (pp. 53-72)
    John Carroll

    After the death of Clarissa, John Belford remarks, in one of those many outbursts of praise wrung from her grieving friends, ‘There never was a lady so young, who wrote so much and with such celerity. Her thoughts keeping pace . . . with her pen, she hardly ever stopp’d or hesitated; and very seldom blotted out, or altered’¹ Samuel Richardson was as ready with his pen as Clarissa with hers; seldom has there been a novelist who wrote ‘so much and with such celerity’. In a span of fourteen years, he not only ran a busy, highly successful printing...

  8. Rhetoric and Historiography: Tristram Shandy’s First Nine Kalendar Months
    (pp. 73-92)
    John A. Hay

    In the course of his discussion of the Dido-Aeneas anachronism in Virgil’sAeneid,Dryden describes Virgil as ‘the Apollo who has [a] dispensing power. His great judgement made the laws of poetry; but he never made himself a slave to them; chronology, at best, is but a cobweb-law, and he broke through it with his weight’.¹ InTristram Shandy,Sterne creates a world of people enmeshed in a variety of cobweb-laws, and none of these people seems to have Virgil’s ‘dispensing power’.

    To Toby Shandy ‘cobweb-laws’ would appeal as a singularly appropriate description of the obfuscating rhetoric which enslaves his...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. Henry Fielding and the English Rococo
    (pp. 93-112)
    Roger Robinson

    I want to start, with what is only partly wantonness, at what might be called the bottom left-hand corner ofTom Jones.The Man of the Hill’s long digressive narrative in Book VIII is interrupted by Partridge, who insists on telling a longwinded ghost story. Before he gets to the point, he rambles through a legal anecdote:

    Well, at last down came my Lord Justice Page to hold the assizes; and so the fellow was had up, and Frank was had up for a witness. To be sure, I shall never forget the face of the judge when he began...

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. An Early Theory of Genius: Alexander Gerard’s Unpublished Aberdeen Lectures
    (pp. 113-142)
    Bernhard Fabian

    The history of the concept of genius is still incomplete. Some later phases, especially in France and in Germany, have been studied in detail.¹ Attempts have also been made to trace the antecedents of the concept back to the Renaissance and even to classical antiquity.² Surprisingly little, however, is known of the crucial period in England about the middle of the eighteenth century when the concept of original genius made its historically significant appearance andthegenius came to be recognised as a distinct human type.³ Addison’s essay in theSpectatorand Pope’s praise of Homer are theloci classici...

  13. Diderot and the Sublime: The Artist as Hero
    (pp. 143-162)
    Brian A. Elkner

    One of the more popular of the after-dinner entertainments offered by d’Holbach to guests at his country estate seems to have been baiting Diderot about the sublime. On one occasion, after Diderot had defended at some length the essential goodness of man and his capacity to rise to the sublime, d’Holbach prevailed upon his friend to read from Voltaire’sHistoire universelle.After twenty pages of crimes and atrocities, Diderot had to push the book aside and d’Holbach, seeing his obvious emotion, could not let the moment pass without remarking ironically: ‘Voilà le sublime de la nature, le beau inne de...

  14. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  15. Fuseli’s Translations of Winckelmann: A Phase in the Rise of British Hellenism with an aside on William Blake
    (pp. 163-186)
    Marcia Allentuck

    In the private collection of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, there exists one of the few remaining volumes from William Blake’s personal library, with his signature boldly inscribed. Blake acquired it while he was still apprenticed to James Basire, and thus it may be said to have communicated its messages to him while he was still a young man, open to new currents of ideas and insights. Despite the importance of this book in Blake’s artistic and critical development, it has never been discussed in detail in this connection and, indeed, has on the whole been lamentably neglected by art critics and...

  16. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  17. The Influence of Pierre Boyle’s Defence of Toleration on the Idea of History expressed in the Dictionnaire Historique et Critique
    (pp. 187-204)
    J. J. Cashmere

    On 17 September 1697, Bayle answered Pierre Jurieu’s criticisms of theDictionnaire historique et critique¹ by asserting ‘En un mot, tout ce que j’ai fait se trouve enferme dans le ressort ou dans la jurisdiction d’un Ecrivain, qui donne une Histoire accompagnée d’un Commentaire Critique’.² Since the eighteenth century, the significance of this assertion has been obscured by an excessive concern with the reputation Bayle has acquired as the irreligious and sceptical ‘philosophe de Rotterdam’. Bayle’s answer to Jurieu was not an idle assertion, however, for in fact theDictionnairemay best be described as a monumental work of history,...

  18. Historical Scepticism in Scotland before David Hume
    (pp. 205-222)
    Thomas I. Rae

    Although David Hume is the best known and most popular Scottish historical writer of the eighteenth century, it is necessary to remember that he was neither the only nor the first Scot to write important historical works. Contemporary with him, and sharing many of his ideas, was William Robertson, Principal of Edinburgh University, author not only of aHistory of Scotlandbut also of aHistory of Americaand aLife of Charles V;and behind him lay a strong cultural tradition of Scottish historical writing expressed in the works of John Fordun, Hector Boethius, George Buchanan, William Drummond of...

  19. Modernisation, Mass Education and Social Mobility in French Thought, 1750-1789
    (pp. 223-238)
    James A. Leith

    The development of the modern state has been marked by the centralisation of political authority, the creation of specialised ministries, the standardisation of administrative regions, the secularisation of functions hitherto performed by the church, and by the substitution—at least in principle—of talent and training in place of privilege as criteria for bureaucratic appointments. Viewed from the twentieth century, France in 1750 appears to have been a half-modernised state. French kings had centralised political authority, but their power was still restricted by local customs and refractory officials secure in ownership of their offices. Many modern ministries did not yet...

  20. Hawkesworth’s Voyages
    (pp. 239-258)
    W. H. Pearson

    It was in June 1773 that Hawkesworth’sVoyageswas issued in 2,000 sets of three volumes, containing the authorised account of the circumnavigations of John Byron, of Wallis, Carteret, and Cook, and within three or four months a second issue of 2,500 sets was made, of which 610 were still unsold twelve years later¹ Nevertheless by the end of 1744 there had been cheaper and apparently unauthorised editions in Dublin and New York, a French translation that appeared in four distinct editions, and translations into Dutch and German. At the one English public library whose borrowing records have survived, Hawkesworth’s...

  21. Of Silkworms and Farthingales and the Will of God
    (pp. 259-278)
    Louis A. Landa

    I propose to examine a phase of eighteenth-century rationalism hitherto little known or neglected. This rationalistic strain of thought manifests itself in a variety of literary works whose authors used prevalent economic ideas, ideas themselves rooted in the diffused rationalistic philosophy of the times. Since the subject is greatly ramified I will restrict myself to one significant aspect, a theme involving a creature both fascinating and disconcerting to contemporaries—the lady of quality or fashion, the Clarindas and Belindas and Celias of the reigns of Queen Anne and the first two Georges; and I submit that this lady of fashion...

  22. Swift and Satirical Typology in A Tale of a Tub
    (pp. 279-302)
    Paul J. Korshin

    I shall be concerned in this essay with Swift’s-use of Biblical typology for satiric purposes inA Tale of a Tub,principally in Section VII, ‘A Digression in Praise of Digressions’, a brilliant and enigmatic portion of his satire on religion and learning which has not received the attention from scholars that it properly deserves. Satires on learning are often far more complex than the writings they attempt to expose, correct, or destroy. Certainly this is true of the digressions inA Tale of a Tub,the obscure and arcane allusions, shifting parodic style, and elaboratepersonaewhich have inspired...

  23. The Politics of Gulliver’s Travels
    (pp. 303-322)
    Michael Wilding

    Generally when we talk or write about political fiction we think of works written from the mid-nineteenth to the twentieth century. Earlier works are not usually admitted to the category, and neither M. E. Speare’sThe Political Novel(1924) nor Irving Howe’sPolitics and the Novel(1957) are concerned with the eighteenth century. Irving Howe, indeed, writes that ‘from the picaresque to the social novel of the nineteenth century there is a major shift in emphasis’¹ and he makes a further shift in emphasis between the social and the political novel:

    The ideal social novel had been written by Jane...

  24. Satire and Self-Expression in Swift’s Tale of a Tub
    (pp. 323-340)
    Gardner D. Stout Jr

    ThatA Tale of a Tubwould prove enigmatic Swift well knew. He anticipates us with unnerving prescience:

    The Reader trulyLearned... will here find sufficient Matter to employ his Speculations for the rest of his Life . . . I do here humbly propose for an Experiment, that every Prince inChristendomwill take seven of thedeepest Scholarsin his Dominions, and shut them up close forseven Years,insevenChambers, with a Command to writesevenample Commentaries on this comprehensive Discourse. I shall venture to affirm, that whatever Difference may be found in their...

  25. Swift: Some Caveats
    (pp. 341-358)
    Donald Greene

    What I have to say here about Swift may seem to mature and thoughtful Swift scholars the most obvious commonplace. Yet perhaps it is worth saying at the present time. More and more as I read new monographs and articles on Swift by younger scholars, I get the uneasy feeling that Swift, from being the complex, disturbing, gigantic figure he used to appear, has diminished into a small, neat stereotype, whose dimensions have all been taken. We know Swift’s views on all the important questions; those views are clear, simple, easily grasped, and unvarying; the future of Swift studies, then,...

  26. David Garrick, Poet of the Theatre: A Critical Survey
    (pp. 359-376)
    John Hainsworth

    David Garrick will be known as an actor for as long as the English theatre continues to exist. As a theatre manager he is remembered for the innovations, notably in stage lighting and scenic design, that were introduced at Drury Lane during his management. As a playwright he survives still—if only because ofThe Clandestine Marriagewritten in collaboration with George Colman the elder. His brilliance as a letter-writer is evident in the magnificent three-volume edition of his letters brought out by D. M. Little and G. M. Kahrl in 1963.1 And, of course, he is known as an...

  27. Cato in Tears: Stoical Guises of the Man of Feeling
    (pp. 377-396)
    Ian Donaldson

    Nearly forty years ago, the late R. S. Crane showed how the early growth of the eighteenth-century cult of Sensibility was stimulated by a feeling of hostility—particularly on the part of the Latitudinarian divines—towards a contemporary revival of interest in the teachings of the Stoics.¹ The Man of Feeling, that familiar figure of eighteenth-century sentimental literature, might also be seen (Crane suggested) as a deliberate answer to a forbidding model of the neo-Stoics: the Man Without Passions.² I intend in this paper to look at one or two of the ways in which this hostility towards Stoical teaching...

  28. Nichol Smith Collections in Edinburgh and Oxford
    (pp. 397-410)
    A. S. Bell

    ‘After my long residence in Oxford—over 50 years now—every breath that I breathe in Edinburgh seems to be a gentle tonic.’ Thus David Nichol Smith wrote to his friend and pupil John Butt, when the latter was appointed to the Regius Chair of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh.¹ Nichol Smith always regarded Edinburgh with the greatest affection, and is himself remembered affectionately by the senior staff of the National Library of Scotland, who knew him as a generous and considerate benefactor. Although the last academic affiliations of his life determined the eventual sale of...

  29. Index
    (pp. 411-419)
  30. Back Matter
    (pp. 420-420)