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Alchemy is a highly complex and paradoxical ‘system’ of thought. On the one hand, it ushers in the new Age of the Enlightenment, since it refutes scholastic philosophy and develops an experimental attitude towards nature and reality, with which many members of the New Science – among them, Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle – could easily sympathize. On the other hand, alchemy reveals the contours of an idiosyncratic doctrine based on a melange of myths, biblical quotations, vulgar errors, and speculations. With its endeavour to produce gold (chrysopoeia), its belief in immortality, and its search for the philosopher’s stone, alchemy builds castles in the air, which in the eyes of many eighteenth-century philosophers were absurd. It is precisely this grotesque aura of alchemy that interests a satirist like Jonathan Swift. Although he detested alchemy and its garrulous representatives such as Artephius, Thomas Vaughan, and Elias Ashmole, he was fascinated by the preposterous ideas of these ‘occult writers.’ In his most brilliant satire, A Tale of a Tub (1704), Swift imitated the language and thought of both alchemists and Rosicrucians in order to explode ‘gross corruptions’ in religion and learning. Whereas Swift lavishes abuse on Peter, the representative of Catholicism, and Jack, the spokesman of Puritanism, whom he associates with alchemical learning, he widely spares Martin, the representative of Anglicanism, who has been regarded as the satirical norm. This paper shows that alchemy is a strong force in the field of semantic gravitation.

In: Reading Swift
In: 'Ethical Turn'?
Geisteswissenschaften in neuer Verantwortung
Verantwortung sowohl gegenüber ihren Gegenständen als auch der Gesellschaft wird den Geistes-wissenschaften zu Beginn des neuen Jahrtausends von allen Seiten zugesprochen. Wie ist es daher im frühen 21. Jahrhundert um ihre Gegenstände und das Medium 'Text' bestellt? Vermögen sie einer ausdifferenzierten Gesellschaft noch ›etwas zu sagen‹ oder verlieren sie sich im Raum der medialen Stimmenvielfalt? Eine Antwort auf die Frage nach der Funktion der Geistes-, Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften scheint der 'Ethical Turn' zu bieten, in dessen Fahrwasser sich manche Disziplinen neuerdings auf die Suche nach den in Vergessenheit geratenen ethischen Dimensionen von Texten begeben.
Papers from the Fourth Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift
Der Band enthält die sechsundzwanzig besten Vorträge des Vierten Münsteraner Symposiums zu Jonathan Swift vom Juni 2000. Thematisch ist der Band in sieben Sektionen gegliedert: I. Theoretical Concerns W. B. Carnochan, Stanford University Swift: The Canon, the Curriculum, and the Marketplace of Scholarship Clive T. Probyn, Monash University, Victoria “Convict of lyes is every sign”: Jonathan Swift and the Everyday II. Biographical Problems Bruce Arnold, Dublin Jonathan Swift: Some Current Biographical Problems Nora F. Crow, Smith Colleg, Northampton, Massachusetts Swift in Love J. A. Downie, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London “The Coffee Hessy spilt” and Other Issues in Swift’s Biography João Fróes, São Paulo, Brazil Swift’s Life in Late 1743: An Unpublished Letter from Deane Swift III. Political, Philosophical, and Literary Issues Ian Higgins, The Australian National University, Canberra Jonathan Swift and the Jacobite Diaspora Arno Löffler, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg „Of Mean ans Great Figures“: Swift an dGreatness Michael De Porte, University of New Hapshire, Durham Riddles, Mysteries, and Lies: Swift and Secrecy Brean S. Hammond, Univeristy of Notthingham Swift’s Reading Heinz J. Vienken, Gernsbach „Nobody has ever written a really good book about Jonathan Swift“: Scouring the Recesses of Swiftian Mind
Papers from The Seventh Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift
This new volume of Reading Swift assembles 26 lectures delivered at the Seventh Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift in June 2017, testifying to an extraordinary spectrum of research interests in the Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin, and his works. Reading Swift follows the tried and tested format of its predecessors, grouping the essays in eight sections: biographical problems; bibliographical and canonical studies; political and religious as well as philosophical, economic, and social issues; poetry; Gulliver’s Travels; and reception studies. The élan vital, which has been such a distinctive feature of Swift scholar-ship in the past thirty-five years, is continuing unabated.