The Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns Criticism: The Battle Of The Books In England - Essay

Eid A. Dahiyat (essay date 1983)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Jonathan Swift's Battle of the Books: Its Background and Satire,” in Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, Vol. 16, 1983, pp. 265-72.

[In the following essay, Dahiyat summarizes the background of the Battle of the Books, primarily in England, and analyzes Swift's book within this context.]

The seventeenth century in England had witnessed a series of conflicting standpoints and attitudes in religion, politics and learning. In religion and politics the controversy reached a tragic summit, when the opposing parties took to arms to silence one another. In the field of learning, the controversy was not less vehement and emotional than the politico-religious one....

(The entire section is 3492 words.)

Richard N. Ramsey (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Swift's Strategy in The Battle of the Books,” in Papers on Language and Literature, Vol. 20, No. 4, Fall 1984, pp. 382-89.

[In the essay that follows, Ramsey discusses why Jonathan Swift entered the Battle of the Books, the tactics he used, what role his book of the same name played, and how Swift's arguments were indicative of his future philosophical direction.]

Swift published The Battle of the Books along with A Tale of a Tub and the Discourse on the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit in 1704, shortly after the death of his patron, Sir William Temple. Temple, who had seen fit to write in defense of the Ancients, had been...

(The entire section is 3507 words.)

Narelle L. Shaw (essay date 1988)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Ancients and Moderns in Defoe's Consolidator,” in SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer 1988, pp. 391-400.

[In the essay below, Shaw interprets Daniel Defoe's Consolidator as a part of the Battle of the Books, judging it “Defoe's first extended contribution to the battle of the ancients and moderns.”]

The Consolidator has long been recognized as an allegory pertaining to political events during the period 1660-1705—in particular, to the problems posed by the Spanish succession, and the High Church's move to tack an important land bill onto a bill designed to prevent the occasional conformity of...

(The entire section is 4173 words.)

John F. Tinkler (essay date 1988)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Splitting of Humanism: Bentley, Swift and the English Battle of the Books,” in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 49, No. 3, July-September 1988, pp. 453-72.

[In the following essay, Tinkler discusses the roles of Richard Bentley and Jonathan Swift in the Battle of the Books, arguing that their dispute is best understood in the context of the “splitting of humanist scholarship and humanist literature into separate literary genres” rather than in “the context of the commonplace debate between ancients and moderns.”]

It was argued some years ago that the English “Battle of the Books” of the late seventeenth century was just another phase...

(The entire section is 9255 words.)