City and Irony: London’s Contradictions in Samuel Johnson’s London Cover Image
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City and Irony: London’s Contradictions in Samuel Johnson’s London
City and Irony: London’s Contradictions in Samuel Johnson’s London

Author(s): Przemysław Uściński
Subject(s): Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Studies of Literature, 19th Century, Philology, British Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Samuel Johnson; urban satire; city; irony; eighteenth-century London
Summary/Abstract: The article discusses Samuel Johnson’s early poem, London (1738), written in imitation of Juvenal’s Third Satire. It considers the trope of irony as employed in the poem within its imitative mode, examines the construction of the speaker in the poem and, in particular, Johnson’s satiric depiction of the eighteenth-century London as the place that intensifies contrasts and contradictions and hence defies attempts at clear definition. The poem is also placed in the broader tradition of eighteenth-century urban satire. More specifically, the article looks at Dr Johnson’s treatment of the disjunction between the moral and the economic that seems to define Britain’s capital for him. Consequently, his construction of Englishness in this piece appears to be outlined in direct contrast with his satiric representation of London’s cosmopolitan urban milieu, which Johnson tends to link with foreign influences as well as with chaos and corruption.

  • Page Range: 79-88
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: English