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Title: Satire in Oliver Goldsmith's The citizen of the world
Authors: Hunt, Alan J.
Advisor: Adrian, Daryl B.
Date of Object: 1979
Abstract: Oliver Goldsmith was not only a superior craftsman but also a sincere moralist, an author who created works crackling with intentional satire; the most representative of these works is The Citizen of the World, a remarkably varied collection that contains outstanding examples of the satiric essay. Goldsmith has been established as a satiric author, yet there are some questions of refinement--points involving his method and intent, his relationship to the eighteenth century, and the nature of his work--that need to be answered. The aim of this paper is to clarify these points by systematically analyzing the satiric technique and purpose in Goldsmith's The Citizen of the World, and by characterizing the satiric nature of Goldsmith's collection. The Citizen of the World was published in 1762, a time of change for eighteenth-century satire; consequently, the technique, purpose, and nature of Goldsmith's satire can be determined only by examining his work through an historical perspective, taking into account the influences in both halves of the eighteenth century.Two sections provide the background for this approach: the first defines the elements of satire, and the second traces the rise and decline of major English satire during the eighteenth century. The satiric elements--technique, purpose, and nature--are based on the following points that constitute the working definition of satire for this study: an attack on irrational, inappropriate conduct, the transformation of that attack into literature through selected techniques, and the justification of that attack based on the author's moral judgment. Satiric technique includes form, characters, and rhetorical tools; purpose involves the author's attitude, satiric objects of attack, and norms; and nature encompasses the specific kind of satire that differentiates one period from another, one author from another, making the definition a more sensitive instrument. Once established, these elements are applied to satire written during the English eighteenth century, a period that includes two kinds of satire, one created by the Augustan Age, the other by the Age of Sensibility. Examining the major changes in satire through this method not only illuminates the eighteenth-century satiric tradition but also provides essential background for analysis of Goldsmith's collection.The satire in The Citizen of the World, consequently, reflects various traits representative of each period within the eighteenth century. Those features characteristic of the Augustan Age--the pseudoletter genre, Altangi, assorted caricatures, the rhetorical tools drawn from all four comic theories, the satiric weapon of irony, the quality of critical humor, the intense emotions of moral contempt and righteous indignation, the unacceptable examples of vice and folly, the emphasis on man's responsibility for his own actions, and the normative values-generate satire that is, at least in several respects, moral, moderate, reasonable, amusing, and powerful. Similarly, those features characteristic of the Age of Sensibility--extensive variety and miscellany, the Man in Black, the developing character of Beau Tibbs, the concept of benevolent laughter, the definite tone of amusement and tolerance, the unacceptable examples of affectation, and the general objects of attack--generate satire that is, at least partially, good-natured, tolerant, moderate, amusing, and mild. Taken together, these features from both periods of the eighteenth century account for a satiric work that is Horatian, that is occasionally intense, occasionally moderate, that is, in truth, a blend of two particular kinds of satire, one created by the Augustan Age, the other by the Age of Sensibility.
Other Identifiers: LD2489.Z64 1979 .H86
CardCat URL: http://liblink.bsu.edu/uhtbin/catkey/265465
Degree: Thesis (D. Ed.)
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Dissertations

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