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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The domestic sphere increases as a subject for satire in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Literary histories assert satire’s decline after 1750 when creative energy shifts towards home, family, nature, individual subjectivity, and private feelings. But the apparent shift towards representations of domesticity does not simply displace but rather offers new opportunities to satire which insinuates itself into modes of writing almost as soon as they are formed and changes the shape they ultimately assume. In contrast to earlier satires on public figures, from royalty and ministers to prostitutes and Grub Street hacks, domestic satire often focuses on families and households, and on the precarious lives of dependants, servants, spinsters, illegitimate offspring, and other persons of socially ambiguous standing. Satire in an age of rising colonialism, economic competition, class struggle, and industrialization, must look beyond court and coffee-house into the parlour where satire has made itself at home.

Keywords: domesticity, servants, dependants, childhood, animals, Jonathan Swift, Jane Collier, Bernard Mandeville, Eliza Haywood, Frances Burney, Jane Austen

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