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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

It has been difficult to place Gulliver’s Travels within a post-Wattsian account of the novel’s emergence and consolidation. Nevertheless, Swift’s text had important effects on the genre he so tellingly satirized. There is, for instance, a Gulliverian source for Fielding’s later assaults both on ‘realism’ and on ontological individualism. The brilliant denunciation of war near the end of Gulliver is likewise extended and novelistically developed in Tristram Shandy. Smollett’s curmudgeonly narrator in Humphry Clinker can be usefully understood as his contribution to Swift’s ‘satirist-satirized’ topos. Frances Burney’s Evelina appropriates Swift’s simian ‘Yahoo’ theme by way of mocking the English upper class. Finally, Swift’s ‘degeneration’ topos is played out as an Irish family saga in Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent. Though not a novel as such, Gulliver’s Travels is necessary to understand the novel’s history.

Keywords: novel, satire, war, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Tobias Smollett, Robert Paltock, Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth

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