Hugh Henry Brackenridge's Modern chivalry, satire in the New Republic

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1974

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This thesis represents an attempt to understand, the growth and development of Jeffersonian democracy in America during and after the American Revolution, as it has been interpreted by Hugh Henry Brackenridge in his satire, Modem Chivalry. It discusses the democracy of Brackenridge espoused in Modern Chivalry, as it compares with Jeffersonian thought. In order to be understood, Brackenridge's satire must first be placed in the literary, political, and philosophical framework of its time, especially since early American literary efforts and their creators were usually entwined with the social and political activities of the day. The first chapter is then a historical survey which places Brackenridge in his era. Once having located the work itself in the early literary movement, it becomes necessary to look more closely at its author. Chapter II traces the political career of Brackenridge, discussing his major political involvements and transformations in an attempt to discover his impetus for satiric expression. The third chapter is a study of Modem Chivalry as a satire, with major attention paid to its Menippean form andits use of such traditional satiric vehicles as invective parody, allegory, burlesque, and irony. Part Two of Chapter III is devoted to a discussion of Brackenridge's beliefs and satiric targets as compared with Jeffersonian ideals and practices. The fourth chapter contains a discussion of the initial impact of Modern Chivalry upon the public, a general review of its present criticism, and concluding remarks concerning the work's failings and present value.

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