Publication details [#6746]

Koehler, Margaret M. 2003. Scriblerian intellectual scenes. Atlanta, Ga.. 269 pp.


Through linguistic and rhetorical analysis this dissertation, Scriblerian Intellectual Scenes, repositions the poets of the Scriblerus Club-John Gay, Thomas Parnell, Pope, and Swift - as more akin to the moderns than the ancients. As Swift's proposition "What is man but a microcoat?" suggests, the group at least partly dismantles the old correspondences between literal and figurative. They exhibit the Augustan unwillingness to, as Blanford Parker puts it, "abide the hubris of an analogical age - its claim to mediated knowledge of the transcendent by means of metaphor." Eclipsing the figurative is not their sole solution, as Parker claims. As they foreground the world of literal objects, they display a simultaneous inclination to transform that world of literal objects through less transcendent figurative correspondences. My project attends to those modern figurative correspondences. Critics have tended to depict the Scriblerians not only as "classics of our prose," poised between two figure-making ages but also as hostile to the everyday matters of their age. My reconsideration of the Scriblerians contradicts both assumptions, highlighting their reliance on and modifications of figurative language and locating their concerns in the ordinary objects and energies of their age. (Dissertation Abstracts)