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Swift's razor

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Bullard, P. (2016) Swift's razor. Modern Philology, 113 (3). pp. 353-372. ISSN 0013-8304

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1086/684098

Abstract/Summary

The razors, knives and “tools for cutting” that appear so often in Jonathan Swift’s writings represent linguistic instruments for the performance of speech acts. Swift often imagines them being deployed for some identifiable purpose, typically the discouragement of “fools” or “knaves” by anatomization. Their sharpness is associated with linguistic acuity, and specifically with the refinement, keenness and power of Swift’s own writing. The focus of this article, however, is on another set of associations that Swift attaches to his blades. They tend also to involve ideas of latency, divagation, bluntness, and misappropriation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:53023
Publisher:University of Chicago Press

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