AN AMBITION TO BE HEARD IN A CROWD: MAD HEROES AND THE SATIRIST IN THE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT (ALIENATION, DOUBLE-BIND).

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/183857
Title:
AN AMBITION TO BE HEARD IN A CROWD: MAD HEROES AND THE SATIRIST IN THE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT (ALIENATION, DOUBLE-BIND).
Author:
CONNERY, BRIAN ARTHUR.
Issue Date:
1986
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
In Swift's works, both heroes and madmen are characterized by supra-normal aspiration, imagination, individuality, and pride, and the mad hero becomes an effective emblem for the chaos arising when individual vision challenges traditional authority in religion, politics, and literature. Swift's view of madness as the willful perversion of reason tends to be traditional, though his sense of its pervasiveness creates a subversive skepticism. Consistently throughout his works, Swift posits conscience as the only safeguard against the madness of pride. Swift views the traditional hero as subversive, typically portraying him as mad while presenting the sane man as unheroic. As the Tale-teller argues, the traditonal hero is a successful madman. Swift's later works demonstrate that madness and heroism often coincide because of the mutually reinforcing relationship between power and ego, and he asserts that the will to power, manifested in the heroic imposition of one's will upon others, is a form of madness. As an alternative to the asocial and amoral traditional hero, Swift promotes a moderate hero in the figures of the Church of England Man, the Examiner, and the Drapier: the one just man, motivated by Roman and Christian virtue, in a mad society. But even the vir bonus remains susceptible to challenges of authority, for in a mad and corrupt society his singular vision cannot appeal to common sense. Moreover, if he becomes powerful, he risks madness, and if he retreats from madness, he becomes impotent. As a consequence of this double bind, the satirist himself suffers a profound alienation. Swift recognizes that by engaging in the controversies of his age, he himself becomes liable to charges of the madness of pride. Even as he harangues the world, his recognition of the heroic conceit in establishing himself as satirist is evident in the self-satire of A Modest Proposal and the verses on his death. Similarly, the self-portraits in his poetry and Gulliver's Travels demonstrate his conscience at work as he satirizes his own indignation and reforming urges, striving thereby to maintain a modicum of humility and thus sanity, and, in laughing with the reader, striving to maintain common sense as well.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745 -- Criticism and interpretation.; English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism.; Mental illness in literature.; Mock-heroic literature -- History and criticism.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Sigworth, Oliver

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleAN AMBITION TO BE HEARD IN A CROWD: MAD HEROES AND THE SATIRIST IN THE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT (ALIENATION, DOUBLE-BIND).en_US
dc.creatorCONNERY, BRIAN ARTHUR.en_US
dc.contributor.authorCONNERY, BRIAN ARTHUR.en_US
dc.date.issued1986en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn Swift's works, both heroes and madmen are characterized by supra-normal aspiration, imagination, individuality, and pride, and the mad hero becomes an effective emblem for the chaos arising when individual vision challenges traditional authority in religion, politics, and literature. Swift's view of madness as the willful perversion of reason tends to be traditional, though his sense of its pervasiveness creates a subversive skepticism. Consistently throughout his works, Swift posits conscience as the only safeguard against the madness of pride. Swift views the traditional hero as subversive, typically portraying him as mad while presenting the sane man as unheroic. As the Tale-teller argues, the traditonal hero is a successful madman. Swift's later works demonstrate that madness and heroism often coincide because of the mutually reinforcing relationship between power and ego, and he asserts that the will to power, manifested in the heroic imposition of one's will upon others, is a form of madness. As an alternative to the asocial and amoral traditional hero, Swift promotes a moderate hero in the figures of the Church of England Man, the Examiner, and the Drapier: the one just man, motivated by Roman and Christian virtue, in a mad society. But even the vir bonus remains susceptible to challenges of authority, for in a mad and corrupt society his singular vision cannot appeal to common sense. Moreover, if he becomes powerful, he risks madness, and if he retreats from madness, he becomes impotent. As a consequence of this double bind, the satirist himself suffers a profound alienation. Swift recognizes that by engaging in the controversies of his age, he himself becomes liable to charges of the madness of pride. Even as he harangues the world, his recognition of the heroic conceit in establishing himself as satirist is evident in the self-satire of A Modest Proposal and the verses on his death. Similarly, the self-portraits in his poetry and Gulliver's Travels demonstrate his conscience at work as he satirizes his own indignation and reforming urges, striving thereby to maintain a modicum of humility and thus sanity, and, in laughing with the reader, striving to maintain common sense as well.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectSwift, Jonathan, 1667-1745 -- Criticism and interpretation.en_US
dc.subjectEnglish literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism.en_US
dc.subjectMental illness in literature.en_US
dc.subjectMock-heroic literature -- History and criticism.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorSigworth, Oliveren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCanfield, J. Douglasen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWillard, Thomasen_US
dc.identifier.proquest8623845en_US
dc.identifier.oclc697534411en_US
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