front cover of Hey Presto!
Hey Presto!
Swift and the Quacks
Hugh Ormsby-Lennon
University of Delaware Press, 2011
In this book the author reveals how medicine shows, both ancient and modern, galvanized Jonathan Swift’s imagination and inspired his wittiest satiric voices. Swift dubbed these multifaceted traveling entertainments his Stage-itinerant or “Mountebank’s Stage.” In the course of arguing that the stage-itinerant formed an irresistible model for A Tale of a Tub, Ormsby-Lennon also surmises that the mountebank’s stage will disclose that missing link, long sought, which connects the twin objects of Swift’s ire: gross corruptions in both religion and learning. In the early modern medicine show, the quack doctor delivered a loquacious harangue, infused with magico-mysticism and pseudoscience, high-astounding promises, and boastful narcissism. To help him sell his panaceas and snake-oil, he employed a Merry Andrew and a motley troupe of performers. From their stages, many quacks also peddled their own books, almanacs, and other ephemera, providing Grub Street with many of its best-sellers. Hacks practiced, quite literally, as quacks. Merry Andrew and mountebank traded costumes, whiskers, and voices. Swift apes them all in the Tale.

Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

front cover of Honest John Williams
Honest John Williams
U.S. Senator from Delaware
Carol E. Hoffecker
University of Delaware Press
John J. Williams was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946, defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell. Honest John Williams: U.S. Senator from Delaware examines the political career of Williams, a political novice who established himself as an important advocate for fiscal probity and integrity in government during four successive terms in the U.S. Senate between 1947 and 1970. Over the course of those twenty-four years in the Senate, which spanned the administrations of five separate U.S. presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon), Williams positioned himself as an opponent of wasteful government spending and corruption, often working ‘across the aisle’ in order to achieve specific political goals. In Honest John Williams, noted Delaware historian Carol E. Hoffecker offers readers a comprehensive look at the legislative course forged by Delaware’s first four-term senator, a chicken-feed dealer born on a farm near Sussex County who went on to become an important advocate for fiscal probity and integrity in twentieth-century American politics.

front cover of Hostile Humor in Renaissance France
Hostile Humor in Renaissance France
Bruce Hayes
University of Delaware Press, 2011

In sixteenth-century France, the level of jokes, irony, and ridicule found in pamphlets and plays became aggressively hostile. In Hostile Humor in Renaissance France, Bruce Hayes investigates this period leading up to the French Wars of Religion, when a deliberately harmful and destructive form of satire appeared.

This study examines both pamphlets and plays to show how this new form of humor emerged that attacked religious practices and people in ways that forever changed the nature of satire and religious debate in France. Hayes explores this phenomenon in the context of the Catholic and Protestant conflict to reveal new insights about the society that both exploited and vilified this kind of satire.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter