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Title: Science and its cultural context in Scriblerian literature
Author: Lynall, Gregory James.
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis seeks to develop our understanding of the Scriblerians' attitude towards 'scientific' discoveries, theories and practices, and in particular seeks to emphasize the significance of the cultural context of science. Chapter One analyses the satirical 'miscegenation' of alchemy, the new science and index learning in Swift's A Tale of a Tub, before outlining the relevance of Richard Bentley's Boyle lectures to Swift's early works. In Chapter Two consideration of Swift's depiction of Isaac Newton's involvement in the Wood's Halfpence affair in The Drapier's Letters leads to an analysis of the 'Voyage to Laputa' in the context of the political hegemony of Newtonianism in the Hanoverian court. The third chapter considers how Pope discriminated between areas of scientific enquiry: supporting Newton but wary of 'Newtonianism'; interested in science but suggesting it can become an obsession. While discussing lesser-known texts by Arbuthnot and Gay, Chapter Four attempts to show that the Scriblerians were intensely aware that the legitimation of scientific narratives depended upon creating boundaries between rival theories and practices: sites of cultural exchange they exploited in their satires. The Conclusion suggests that understanding Scriblerian attacks on science must acknowledge the widest possible cultural context and accept that on occasions the 'science' itself may not be the main satiric target.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available