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Title: Enlightenment satire and the 'profound secrets of nature
Author: Minuk, Stephen Lawrence
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis challenges the traditional view that satire largely targeted science in the Enlightenment through an examination of satiric texts in which scientific methods and concepts shape their critique. The emergence of this strain of satire is explained with reference to contemporary philosophical texts that re situated human nature in close proximity to physical nature. The Introduction defines the scope of the project and provides an outline of the chapters. Chapter 2 examines contrasting representations of physical nature in Bacon's writings to reveal its reciprocal roles as catalogue and as riddle. The contradictory tendencies of physical nature suggest its potential as a model for human nature in satire. Chapter 3, 'Elizabethan Satire and its Cutting Truths', explores how myth, scripture and classical learning circumscribed satire at the turn of the seventeenth century. Chapter 4, 'Material Horace', identifies Jonson's rejection of excessive learning and occult mentalities as a transition toward scientific tendencies in satire. Chapter 5, 'Irrational Mechanics', explores how Descartes and Hobbes theorized human nature in material terms at the mid-seventeenth century creating further links between science and satire. Chapter 6, 'A Rhetoric of Discovery' , explains how observation, experiment and materialism became important tools and concepts for satiric discovery. Chapter 7, 'Fireworks Among the Fellows' illustrates how the rhetoric of discovery emerged as a flashpoint in some scientific and philosophical controversies of the period. Chapter 8, 'Satires of Science' , explores the received relationship between satire and science as a rejection of the rhetoric of discovery. Chapters 9, 10 and 11 explore different facets of the rhetoric of discovery in stage, verse and prose satire, exemplifying how it served as an expository device in some Enlightenment satire. The Conclusion speculates why satiric discovery was short-lived.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available