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|Title:||The Comic Grotesque and War in Selected Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Prose|
|Keywords:||18th Century;Comic grotesque and war|
|Abstract:||This dissertation examines how the comic grotesque is used to address the subject of war in selected prose. The Introduction reviews the essential ludicrous-fearful duality of the grotesque. "Comic Grotesque" refers to examples which emphasize the ludicrous. An organic link exists between the nature of war and the grotesque form. Part One deals with Renaissance selections. The first is the slaughter of the rebels in Sidney's Arcadia, which parodies epic-battle motifs. The princes dispatch the rebels in a series of gruesome and humorous portraits. Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller contains two grotesque battles. Jack wants to join the stronger side at the Marignano blood bath but soon flies off to the Munster uprising. Jack's grotesque similes and Rabelaisian vitality characterize him as a picaresque hero. Burton's tirade against war in The Anatomy of Melanchols exposes all the absurdities of war but with comic exaggeration. The tirade is part of the greater dilemma of not knowing whether to laugh with Democritus or cry with Heraclitus. To understand Burton's paradoxical view of war, the tirade must be seen within the context of the entire Anatomy. Part Two looks at eighteenth-century selections. The pettiness and horror of war are recurrent themes in Gulliver's Travels. Swift is particularly interested in the unreason of war engines and the perverse delight which men take in the spectacle of battle. Smollett's Roderick Random documents the military experiences of another picaresque hero who sees action in the War of Jenkins's Ear and the battle of Dettingen. Like Jack Wilton, Roderick only enlists in the army to support himself. Perhaps the most memorable comic grotesque statement on war comes in Sterne's Tristram Shandy. The bowling green diversion may be harmless play, but it is also tied to Marlborough's actual campaigns. Paradoxically, uncle Toby's war wound is an emblem of love.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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