The Scriblerian Mock-Arts: Pseudo-technical Satire in Swift and his Contemporaries

Bullard, Paddy S (2013) The Scriblerian Mock-Arts: Pseudo-technical Satire in Swift and his Contemporaries. Studies in Philology, 110 (3). ISSN 0039-3738. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

During the first three decades of the eighteenth century, Jonathan Swift and members of his circle—which included Alexander Pope, John Gay, John Arbuthnot and Thomas Sheridan—wrote a series of satires on the technical prose of the day, referred to in this article as the “Scriblerian mock-arts.” These included Swift’s “Mechanical Operation of the Spirit,” Pope’s “Art of Sinking in Poetry,” Gay’s Trivia, and Arbuthnot’s Art of Political Lying. They appeared at a time of innovation in the genres of British literature: the rise of the novel, the publication of the first Enlightenment encyclopedias, and the triumph of the daily essay-journal were already well underway. The Scriblerian mock-arts are significant because they belong in a small way to that revolution in mediation, and they are designed as a commentary upon it as well. This article describes the conventions of this neglected sub-genre. It shows how the Scriblerian satirists used it to argue the absurdity of trying to specify in print certain forms of tacit or personal knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2016 11:41 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40679 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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