Swift and Science: The Satire, Politics and Theology of Natural Knowledge, 1690-1730

Hardcover | June 19, 2012

byGregory Lynall

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It is often thought that Jonathan Swift was vehemently opposed to the new science that heralded the beginning of the modern age, but this book interrogates that assumption, bringing new perspectives to his most famous works, and making a case for the intellectual importance of some of his more neglected poems and prose satires. Lynall's study traces the theological, political, and socio-cultural resonances of scientific knowledge in the early eighteenth century, and considers what they can reveal about the growth of Swift's imagination. Taking us to a universe made from clothes, to a place where flowers can talk and men are only trees turned upside down, to an island that hovers high in the clouds, and to a library where a spider predicts how the world will end, the book shows how satire can be an active and unique participant in cultural debates about the methods and purposes of scientific enquiry.

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From the Publisher

It is often thought that Jonathan Swift was vehemently opposed to the new science that heralded the beginning of the modern age, but this book interrogates that assumption, bringing new perspectives to his most famous works, and making a case for the intellectual importance of some of his more neglected poems and prose satires. Lynall'...

GREGORY LYNALL is Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Liverpool, UK. He has published widely on the relationship between literature, science and alchemy in the long eighteenth century, and worked as a research assistant on A Tale of a Tub and Other Works, ed. Marcus Walsh, for the Cambridge Edition of Jonathan Swift...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.84 × 5.68 × 0.76 inPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230343643

ISBN - 13:9780230343641

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsAcknowledgementsList of AbbreviationsIntroduction: Altitudes of AuthorityMeditations and Mechanisms: Swift and Robert Boyle's Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects Sinking the 'Spider's Cittadel': The Battel of the Books and Thomas Burnet's 'Philosophical Romance' of the EarthNewtonian Battels with Rising Stars and Wheeling MoonsLaputian Newtons: Science, the Wood's Halfpence Affair and Gulliver's Travels Socinians and Queens: Samuel Clarke and 'Directions for a Birthday Song'AfterwordNotesBibliographyIndex