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Miniature and the English Imagination
Literature, Cognition, and Small-Scale Culture, 1650–1765

  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108425834


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About the Authors
  • Focusing on the phenomenon of miniaturization in material culture, literature, and theories of cognition, this study examines the appeal and function of the small-scale during the period from 1650 to 1765. Drawing on three interconnected areas of scholarship, Melinda Alliker Rabb analyzes the human capacity to supplement direct experience of the world through representation, in order to gain knowledge of that world and to attempt control over it. Assessing two kinds of miniature - the real and the imagined - allows rethinking of works by Swift, Pope, Gay, Johnson, Sterne, and others, and shows how the fictional miniature can correspond meaningfully to the world of things. The phenomenon of scaling down objects as various as teapots, bureaus, globes, buckets, spoons, battlefields, and diving bells, has a relationship to large-scale events as various as financial revolution, globalization, scientific discovery, war and other events that challenge old modes of representation and demand new ones.

    • Demonstrates a new relationship between literature and the material world where there was a simultaneous production of miniature objects in fiction and reality
    • Provides new insights on the relationship between literary and cognitive theory studies
    • Examines the miniature in the literary work of Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and Daniel Defoe amongst others
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108425834
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction to an age of small-scale
    2. Swift and miniature: Cogito ergo Gulliver
    3. Lilliput recalibrated: Johnson and others
    4. Toying with thought: Pope, Gay, Dodsley
    5. War in miniature: models, maps, medals, and Sterne's Tristram Shandy
    6. Science and miniature: animal rationis capax and homo depictor
    Coda: 'the last extreme of littleness': miniature and the postmodern imagination

  • Author

    Melinda Alliker Rabb, Brown University, Rhode Island
    Melinda Alliker Rabb is Professor of English at Brown University, Rhode Island. She is author of Satire and Secrecy in English Literature From 1650–1750 (2007), as well as articles and chapters on a wide range of eighteenth-century topics and writers.

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