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Lecture 9

ENG305 Lecture 9

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University of Toronto St. George
Jennifer Harris

Verses on Death of Swift  Individualism undermined, engaging in ridiculous delusion punishable by satire  Swift imagines own death, imagines how people talk about it  Line 459-460 malice never was his aim, he lashed the vice but spared the name…  Crossing out lines because they’re too vain… trying to create flattering image of self in satire against vanity…  Censorship, printers putting stars and dashes in problematic lines  Reader hierarchy… fill in blank with pamphlets/own guesses… if friend of Swift, can look at original manuscript, but it not, guess  Friends can’t be depended on to understand our pov and perspectives (Pope misunderstood Swift although close friend  Iambic tetrameter – Swift, 8 syllables… resemble popular form of ballad, folksy, homey form, pedestrian and customary  Pope: 5 couplets… make grand summary statements in form that’s expansive enough to be conclusive (“all join to guard what each desires to gain…” all kept in check by society, contained within the lines  Swift make exaggerated claims; always, all… hyperbolic language but contained in dumpty octasyllable lines  Effect of making outrageous claim then refuse to expand on it… comedians comment bluntly about something then be silent, people bewildered and laugh  Awkwardness to lines, colloquial, vocal, conversational language, clumsy and outrageous speaker… Swift interested in unwritten complexities… performance of character than philosophical architecture  Humorous exposing through clumpy form of poem  Poem ends with impartial spectator standing up at rose tavern and delivers eulogy on Swift’s character, defend good deeds, virtues…  Never awed by power, remember who he is, mixed with all classes, poetry loved, champion for freedom, involved in political controversies but always innocent…  Writing self-defense  Poem as pamphlet would have been read in this kind of tavern  Aware of irony between imagined situation (impartial person praising his actions in tavern) and Swift writing own eulogy to be read in such setting while he’s still alive  Readers would not have taken these lines straightforwardly  Swift participating in vices he’s satirizing, society of self-love that he’s depicting and criticizing (Rose Tavern)… performing self-interest that he accuses others  Engaged in complex poetic performance; promotes moral that self-interest is futile… self-loving eulogy… preserving character in life and death, moral inscribed through the reading of this poem  Effects are not in content but how it’s said and how readers perform it  Ironic celebration of lack of regard for future, prosperity, lewdness and self-love in tavern… reading pamphlet and toasting Swift…  By writing fake eulogy, preventing others from making embarrassing account after his death  Swift fascinated by impact e can happen on individuals and body with print  Identities in society always in mercy of others… humiliating and satirizing himself in joking, aloof environment where no danger of being taken too seriously… people can give or tak
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