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Author

Mark Jordan

Date of Award

8-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

D. Blewett

Language

English

Abstract

In his Consolidator, Defoe, like many seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers, ridicules the natural sciences of the day. His attack on the sciences, however, is ironic. Contemporary religion and politics, and not science, are the principal objects of hi satire. Defoe's ostensible attack on the sciences is in fact directly related to, and a significant component of, his comments on the religious and political controversies of his day.

This thesis seeks to illustrate how sections of The Consolidator parody the language of contemporary philosophical transactions, and how this parody contributes to Defoe's social satire. The Introduction to the thesis provides a brief survey of the critical attention paid to Defoe's relationship with the "new sciences." Chapter One discusses Defoe's use of irony in his attack on the sciences, and illustrates how specific sections of The Consolidator parody contemporary scientific writing. Chapter Two relates this parody to Defoe's political satire, and Chapter Three relates it to his religious satire.

McMaster University Library