We are obsessed with 'barbarians'. They are the 'not us', who don't speak our language, or 'any language', whom we depise, fear, invade and kill; for whom we feel compassion, or admiration, and an intense sexual interest; whose innocence or vigour we aspire to, and who have an extraordinary influence on the comportment, and even modes of dress, of our civilised metropolitan lives; whom we often outdo in the barbarism we impute to them; and whose suspected resemblance to us haunts our introspections and imaginings. They come in two overlapping categories, ethnic others and home-grown pariahs: conquered infidels and savages, the Irish, the poor, the Jews. This book looks afresh at how we have confronted the idea of 'barbarism', in ourselves and others, from 1492 to 1945, through the voices of many writers, chiefly Montaigne, Swift and, to a lesser extent, Shaw.
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Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Claude Rawson
Claude Rawson is Maynard Mack professor of English, Yale University. His works include Henry Fielding and the Augustan Ideal Under Stress; Gulliver and the Gentle Reader: Studies in Swift and Our Time; Order from Confusion Sprung: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper; The Collected Poems of Thomas Parnell, with F. P. Lock; Satire and Sentiment 1660-1830; and Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume 4: The Eighteenth Century, with H. B. Nisbet.