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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the importance of Lucianic satire as a model for Dryden, Swift, Fielding, and other writers between 1650 and 1760 in the light of what has been called Lucian’s ‘double personality’ in early modern Europe: for some he was an erudite, witty, and moral satirist of hypocrisy; for others, a dangerously irreligious scoffer and sceptic who brought Christian morality into doubt. By the later seventeenth century, he was more usually regarded as both these things—as well as an exemplary prose stylist—and his scepticism was no small part of his appeal as a satirist. However, the rise of deism at the end of the seventeenth century and its association with subversive religious satire encouraged a perception of Lucianic wit as a weapon of the deists, and this association was not merely impressionistic: the first English Works of Lucian (1710–11) included among its contributors several prominent deists.

Keywords: Lucian, Henry Fielding, John Dryden, Jonathan Swift, translation, satire, deism, scepticism

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