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Jane Collier An Essay On The Art Of Ingeniously Tormenting

Perhaps the first extended non-fiction prose satire written by an English woman, Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753) is a wickedly satirical send-up of eighteenth-century advice manuals and educational tracts. It takes the form of a mock advice manual in which the speaker instructs her readers in the arts of tormenting, offering advice on how to torment servants, humble companions and spouses, and on how to bring one’s children up to be a torment to others. The work’s satirical style, which focuses on the different kinds of power that individuals exercise over one another, follows in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift and paves the way for Jane Austen.

This Broadview edition uses the first edition, the only edition published during the author’s lifetime. The appendices include excerpts from texts that influenced the essay (by Sarah Fielding, Jonathan Swift, Francis Coventry); excerpts from later texts that were influenced by it (by Maria Edgeworth, Frances Burney, Jane Austen); and relevant writings on education and conduct (by John Locke, George Savile, Dr. John Gregory).

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Jane Collier: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting

Appendix A: Advertisement to the 1757 Edition

Appendix B: Models for Collier’s Satire

  1. From Sarah Fielding, The Adventures of David Simple, 1744
  2. From Jonathan Swift, Directions to Servants, 1745
  3. From Francis Coventry, The History of Pompey the Little, 1751

Appendix C: On Education and Conduct

  1. From John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1699
  2. From George Savile, Marquess of Halifax, The Lady’s New-Year’s Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter, 1692
  3. From John Gregory, A Father’s Legacy to His Daughters, 1774

Appendix D: Later Satires on the Art of Tormenting

  1. From Maria Edgeworth, An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification, 1795
  2. From Frances Burney, The Wanderer, 1814
  3. From Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

Select Bibliography

Audrey Bilger is an Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA. She is the author of Laughing Feminism: Subversive Comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen.

An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting3.67 · Rating details ·  92 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews

Wickedly funny and bitingly satirical, The Art is a comedy of manners that gives insights into eighteenth-century behavior as well as the timeless art of emotional abuse. It is also an advice book, a handbook of anti-etiquette, and a comedy of manners. Collier describes methods for "teasing and mortifying" one's intimates and acquaintances in a variety of social situationsWickedly funny and bitingly satirical, The Art is a comedy of manners that gives insights into eighteenth-century behavior as well as the timeless art of emotional abuse. It is also an advice book, a handbook of anti-etiquette, and a comedy of manners. Collier describes methods for "teasing and mortifying" one's intimates and acquaintances in a variety of social situations. Written primarily for wives, mothers, and the mistresses of servants, it suggests the difficulties women experienced exerting their influence in private and public life--and the ways they got round them. As such, The Art provides a fascinating glimpse into eighteenth-century daily life.
The first to employ modern spelling, this edition includes a lively introduction by editor Katharine A. Craik. Craik puts in context the various disputes described in The Art (domestic squabbles, quarrels between female friends, altercations between social classes) by describing the emergence in mid-eighteenth century of new notions of bourgeois femininity, along with new ideas of leisure and recreation. The result is a literary work sure to be enjoyed both by lovers of satire and those with an interest in the real daily dramas of the eighteenth-century world....more

Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 156 pages

Published June 15th 2006 by Oxford University Press (first published 1753)

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