What Not to Avoid in Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room”

Title:
What Not to Avoid in Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room”
Authors:
Baudot, Laura
Abstract:
This essay argues for the centrality of the void in making sense of Jonathan Swift’s notoriously filthy poem, “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” Looking at the overlooked void reveals the poem’s engagement with philosophical materialism, in particular Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. Although critical of seeing the universe and all it contains as mere matter and void, Swift uses Lucretian materialism, this essay contends, to dethrone the classical muse and debunk aesthetic enthusiasm. In observing how the poem stages a clash between materialism and enthusiasm, science and aesthetics, this essay seeks to move beyond debates about the poem’s misogyny. It also proposes viewing the poem’s satirical project as part of Swift’s search for an alternative model of poetic creation to replace the worn-out muse.
Citation:
Baudot, Laura Jeanne. 2009. "What Not to Avoid in Swift’s 'The Lady’s Dressing Room'." Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 49(3): 637-666.
Publisher:
Rice University; Johns Hopkins University Press
DATE ISSUED:
2009-8-7
Department:
English
Type:
article
PUBLISHED VERSION:
10.1353/sel.0.0069
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/309726

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorBaudot, Lauraen_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-12-23T16:16:25Zen
dc.date.available2013-12-23T16:16:25Zen
dc.date.issued2009-8-7en
dc.identifier.citationBaudot, Laura Jeanne. 2009. "What Not to Avoid in Swift’s 'The Lady’s Dressing Room'." Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 49(3): 637-666.en_US
dc.identifier.issn0039-3657en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/309726en
dc.description.abstractThis essay argues for the centrality of the void in making sense of Jonathan Swift’s notoriously filthy poem, “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” Looking at the overlooked void reveals the poem’s engagement with philosophical materialism, in particular Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. Although critical of seeing the universe and all it contains as mere matter and void, Swift uses Lucretian materialism, this essay contends, to dethrone the classical muse and debunk aesthetic enthusiasm. In observing how the poem stages a clash between materialism and enthusiasm, science and aesthetics, this essay seeks to move beyond debates about the poem’s misogyny. It also proposes viewing the poem’s satirical project as part of Swift’s search for an alternative model of poetic creation to replace the worn-out muse.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherRice Universityen_US
dc.publisherJohns Hopkins University Pressen_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1353/sel.0.0069en
dc.subject.departmentEnglishen_US
dc.titleWhat Not to Avoid in Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room”en_US
dc.typearticleen_US
dc.identifier.journalStudies in English Literature 1500-1900en_US
dc.subject.keywordSwift, Jonathan, 1667-1745: Lady's dressing roomen_US
dc.subject.keywordLucretius Carus, Titus: De rerum naturaen_US
dc.subject.keywordMaterialism in literatureen_US
All Items in The Five Colleges of Ohio Digital Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.