Hey Presto!: Swift and the Quacks by Hugh Ormsby-LennonHey Presto!: Swift and the Quacks by Hugh Ormsby-Lennon

Hey Presto!: Swift and the Quacks

byHugh Ormsby-Lennon

Hardcover | June 24, 2011

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Traveling "medicine shows," both ancient and modern, galvanized Jonathan Swift's imagination. Dubbing such multifaceted vagabond entertainments his "Stage-Itinerant" or "Mountebank's Stage," Swift mimicked their argot, puffery, and slapstick in A Tale of a Tub (1704). Hugh Ormsby-Lennon reveals how the stage-itinerant not only furnished the Tale with its irresistible model but still parades that missing link, long sought, which conjoins the dual objects of Swift's ire: "gross Corruptions in [both] Religion and Learning."From the early modern stage-itinerant, the quack doctor delivered a loquacious harangue, stuffed with magico-mysticism and pseudo-science, with high-astounding promises and boastful narcissism. To help him peddle his nostrums, elixirs, and panaceas, he enlisted a tatterdemalion troupe: funambulists, puppeteers, snake-handlers, toad-eaters, sword-swallowers, spoon-benders, prestidigitators, a Merry Andrew. From their stages, charlatans reviled each other and hawked their own books, almanacs, and other ephemera, providing Grub Street with its hottest titles. Hacks practiced, quite literally, as quacks. Mountebank and Merry Andrew swapped costumes, whiskers, patter, foreign accents. Swift apes them all in the Tale.Swift mobilizes the stage-itinerant in order to crush "gross Corruptions [in] Learning. " Documenting how early modern scholars vilified one another as mountebanks-by peppering their learned culture with invective filched from market-place harangues-Dr. Ormsby-Lennon revisits both Hans Sloane's dark archive of quacks' broadsides and J. B. Mencken's international best-seller, De charlataneria eruditorum . . .de circumforanea literatorum vanitate (1715). To such Bakhtinian cant, Swift had early attuned his ear when attending the Tripos entertainments at Trinity College, Dublin, wherein fellow-students guyed dons as snake-oil salesmen. Eventually, Swift preached from an oaken pulpit of his own decanal design, manhandled around St. Patrick's Cath
Hugh Ormsby-Lennon is professor of eighteenth-century studies at Villanova University.
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Title:Hey Presto!: Swift and the QuacksFormat:HardcoverDimensions:412 pages, 9.48 × 6.41 × 1.2 inPublished:June 24, 2011Publisher:University of Delaware PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:161149012X

ISBN - 13:9781611490121

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction:Si Vulgus Vult Decipi, Decipiatur Chapter 2 Chapter 1:Classis? Stage-Itinerant Chapter 3 Chapter 2: From Gabble and Harangue to Quack's Bill Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Universal Improvement of Mankind Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Ejaculating the Soul Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Aping the Medicine Show: Mencken, Salmon, Yworth Chapter 7 Chapter 6: Doctor and Presto Chapter 8 Chapter 7:Dumfounding Chapter 9 Chapter 8: Apollonius of Tyana Chapter 10 Chapter 9: Beginnings and Endings,Terrae Filius on Grub Street

Editorial Reviews

Hey Presto! Swift and the Quacks is a work of vast erudition and sharp insight, and provides one of the most interesting recent developments in Swift studies.