The Spatial Morality of Tory Satire: Ned Ward, Tom Brown, and the Politics of Literary Authority

  • Author / Creator
    Neudorf, Benjamin J
  • This dissertation argues that the political satire of Ned Ward and Thomas Brown uses spatial strategies to make moral arguments in opposition to their political and literary targets. Chapter One focuses on the Tory position that Tom Brown and Ned Ward take. Using as a starting place the Grub Street persona of Jonathan Swift’s A Tale of a Tub, alongside the figure of the pulpit in seventeenth-century London Chapter One moves to Brown and Ward’s representations of Westminster in order to address their Tory politics and the spatial strategies of their satire. In Chapter Two, Tom Brown deploys this “spatial morality” to target John Dryden after his conversion in a series of satires in dialogue form that represent Dryden’s surrogate, Mr. Bays, in a conversation on the way from St. James Park to Covent Garden. Brown’s satires target Dryden’s body, parody Dryden’s writing on a formal level, and use the spaces Dryden lives and works in to make a moral argument that undermines his conversion and its defense in The Hind and the Panther. Chapter Three analyzes Ned Ward’s satire of London, arguing that it targets individualism and the self-interest of Whig trade in a satire of places associated with the public sphere. Ward’s satire is indicative of the way Tory writers in Grub Street are critical of print culture and the public sphere but use their position as authors to attack their political opponents. In Chapter Four, Ned Ward’s satire of global trade argues the moral problems of the colonies originate in London. This satire of Jamaica and Merchant tradesmen asks how global trade has helped the people of the city, modelling a vision for literary authorship positioned alongside the collective needs of his neighbourhood and against the economic self-interest of global trade.
    How Ward and Brown use spaces in their satire to take on political opponents has implications for the history of literary authority: by challenging Dryden’s conversion and making a case for the value of the Laureate, Brown’s dialogue satire values literary authority that comes from the state; by targeting the public sphere, Whig merchants, and global trade, Ward’s satire makes the case for the role of literary authorship that speaks to the interests and experiences of the places the author writes about. Ward and Brown’s satire is so grounded in place, so interested in literary form and in the body, which enables politically engaged and effective writing. Their work is immersed in the places, people, and habits they are familiar with.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.