|Summary:||Swift is a shrewd and humorous observer of the changing artistic and cultural scene in both Ireland and England, and his views on these changes in public taste are an important, albeit neglected, part of his biography. His correspondence, especially his Journal to Stella, shows us someone very aware of the various arts and of their lively emergence from the enclosed world of the Puritan era. Many of Swift's friends and acquaintances were serious collectors of paintings, sculpture, coins, medals and Swift himself eventually enjoyed an interesting and revealing collection of artistic artifacts, as this study shows. |
His satirical response to some of the new fashions and trends in cultural matters, for example with regard to Italian opera and the emergence of "literary gardens," reveals new aspects of his religious and aesthetic values. It also shows that Swift, like many of his contemporaries, regarded some of the arts as "foreign" and therefore unsuitable to the British national character. Such a prejudice with regard to cultural imports sometimes reveals a conservative and puritanical aesthetic in Swift. As Dean of St. Patrick's, Swift was purposeful and dedicated on the question of music as part of the liturgy, and was very aware of the controversies surrounding sacred and secular music. Indeed, Swift's clerical role is shown to be fundamental to his critical discrimination between the comparative virtues of the arts. This book hopes to broaden an understanding of Swift's relationship to Enlightenment thinking about the role of the arts in eighteenth-century society, and to explore how the politics and the theology of his Irish situation determined his unique perspective on the arts. His views on these matters are an important part of Swift's lifelong arguments about the relative virtues of the Ancients and the Moderns. --Book Jacket.
|Published / Created:||
University of Delaware Press,
|Notes:||Includes bibliographical references and index. |
Physical description: 187 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.